Tej Pratap Yadav (File image: PTI)
Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav on Wednesday dropped hints of getting over his latest round of sulk which had sent the RJD, found and headed by his father, in a fix at a time it is busy preparing for by-poll to a couple of assembly seats in Bihar.
The RJD MLA put paid to speculations of his canvassing for rebel candidates, as a mark of protest over his name being omitted from the list of star campaigners and asserted that he wished younger brother Tejashwi Yadav to rise to the chief minister’s chair.
“From where do you get to hear such rumours? There has never been such a thing in my mind,” he snapped when asked by journalists about reports in a section of media that he would canvass for Mohd Jasim, an Independent candidate, in Tarapur assembly seat where his party has fielded Arun Kumar Sah.
A couple of days ago, the mercurial leader had taken to twitter to fume over speculations that Sanjay Kumar Yadav, another independent, was in the fray with his support.
He had also blamed the confusion on a “Haryanvi script writer” whom he did not mention by name, though it was widely inferred as an allusion to a close aide of Tejashwi who has outshined the elder brother in the party.
When journalists sought to draw Tej Pratap's attention to the fact that amid the recent round of unpleasantness Tejashwi had taken care to extend “good wishes” to the elder brother when he took out a march on the occasion of legendary socialist leader Jayaprakash Narayan’s birth anniversary, he said ''I too offer my blessings to him.
''May he (Tejashwi) become the chief minister”, said the 35-year-old, who seemed to have been mollified after a brief meeting with mother Rabri Devi the previous day.
RJD sources said on condition of anonymity that the cooling of tempers of the volatile leader was a “big relief” since the party wanted to prove a point in Tarapur as well as in the reserved Kusheshwar Asthan seat. RJD seeks to wrest the seats from JD(U) of Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, the arch rival of Lalu Prasad.
Although RJD is high on confidence, having won far more seats than JD(U) in the assembly polls held a year ago, it faces an uphill task in the by-election since old ally Congress has also thrown its hat in the ring.
Relations between Congress and RJD, notwithstanding the excellent personal equation Prasad shares with the Gandhi family, have been under strain following the induction of former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who is viewed by many as a potential rival to Tejashwi.
Notably, Kanhaiya, along with new inductees from Gujarat - Jignesh Mevani and Hardik Patel figures in the list of star campaigners of the Congress for the two seats.
The RJD on its part is greatly enthused by Lalu Prasad’s scheduled visit to Patna next week. Although poor health may come in the way of the septuagenarian taking active part in the campaign, his presence after having spent a long time in jail is bound to act as a morale booster.
By-poll to the two seats will take place on October 30 and the counting of votes will take place on November 2.