Lalu’s 'family feud' may spell trouble for RJD

Lalu’s 'family feud' may spell trouble for RJD

Former minister of Bihar and Senior leader of RJD Tej Pratap Yadav arrives in Ranchi to meet with his father Lalu Prasad Yadav at Rajednra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) on Saturday, November 3, 2018. (PTI Photo)

“I will not listen to anyone, even my father,” said an unrelenting Tej Pratap, the elder son of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, after meeting the RJD chief in Ranchi.

Tej confabulated with an ailing Lalu for three hours in a Ranchi hospital and told him how and why he wanted a divorce from his newly-wed wife Aishwarya Rai

Lalu tried to assuage his son's ruffled feathers. But a defiant Tej said his decision (to seek a divorce) was irreversible.

This was arguably for the first time in the last three decades that anyone within Lalu’s family or outside has dared to defy the RJD supremo so bluntly.

With Lalu in jail since December 2017, his family has been making news mostly for the wrong reasons.

Fight between siblings

Last month, the running feud between the two brothers, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, both former ministers in Nitish Kumar's Cabinet in the Grand Alliance government, made headlines, till Lalu’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti nipped the so-called ‘sibling rivalry’ in the bud. “In every family, there are differences. It’s so in our family too. All the five fingers in our hand are not equal,” Misa, a Rajya Sabha MP, said while speaking to a gathering.

But those who are aware of the family feud in Lalu Prasad’s undivided family aver that the ‘infighting’ may have its cascading effect on the poll prospect of the RJD.

“We have given the BJP-led NDA ammunition to launch a vitriolic attack on the RJD. In the coming days, each and every NDA leader would say that when Lalu cannot keep his house (family) in order, how would he govern (proxy rule, through his son) Bihar?,” said a senior RJD leader, expressing deep concern over the goings-on.

The divorce petition filed by Tej Pratap has stressed on several issues but two points are worth mentioning: First, Aishwarya wanted a Lok Sabha ticket for her father Chandrika Rai, currently RJD legislator, who was a minister in the Nitish government.

Secondly, she was trying to drive a wedge between the two brothers, Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, a charge denied by Lalu’s family but discussed within the RJD in hushed tones.

“The RJD is the single largest party in the Bihar Assembly. It has won all the bypolls held in Bihar ever since Nitish parted ways with the Grand Alliance. All this is because of Lalu ji’s mass appeal. His vote-bank is intact even when he is incarcerated. It’s equally true that Tejashwi has virtually taken over the party. But infighting within the family may spell trouble for the RJD in the coming days,” said the source, who was earlier a minister in Rabri's regime.