Lalu's little ones: Why bade bhaiya Tej needs mentoring from Tejashwi Prasad

Giridhar Jha
Giridhar JhaJul 20, 2016 | 12:50

Lalu's little ones: Why bade bhaiya Tej needs mentoring from Tejashwi Prasad

When Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad had chosen his youngest son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to be the deputy chief minister - ahead of the elder Tej Pratap Yadav - in the Nitish Kumar government last year, an intense sibling rivalry was expected to be played out beyond their 10, Circular Road bungalow in Patna.

Eight months on, there seems to be no sign of any competition between the Yadav brothers who have inherited the same political legacy in the state.

While Tejashwi has made his presence felt as the second man in the government, his brother appears to be weighed down by the burden of his responsibilities.

Tejashwi has not only discharged his responsibilities well in the government but has also led the RJD from the front to push the party's agenda set by his father.

Even though he made his debut in the Grand Alliance ministry as a first-term legislator at the age of 26, he has been quick on the uptake, imbibing the intricacies of the coalition politics and learning the nitty-gritty of governance.

Tejashwi has impressed the political pundits the most with the way he has handled the criticism of the opposition over the rising crime graph in the state in the past six months.

The BJP has often equated the current law and order scenario with that of the previous RJD rule which had earned the moniker of Jungle Raj (lawless regime) between 1990 and 2005.

Armed with statistics, he has taken on the detractors of the state government to emphasise that Bihar's crime graph is still better than many BJP-ruled states.

His brother, on the contrary, presents a diametrically opposite image.

It is not as if Lalu has not been aware of the differences. 

Lalu had sought to strike a balance between his sons by getting three important ministries allocated to each of them but Tej Pratap has failed to jettison his image of a reluctant entrant into politics.

More often than not, he has given the impression as though his heart is not fully into his job.

His seemingly indifferent approach and off-the-cuff politically incorrect remarks have invariably caused embarrassment to his party in the recent times.

Lalu had fielded Tej Pratap in the Assembly election from the Yadav-dominated Mahua constituency in Vaishali district last year.

He won it with a margin bigger than that of Tejashwi who had contested from the Raghopur seat.

But there is no denying the fact that the two brothers are quite different in their attitude and temperament.

It is not as if Lalu has not been aware of the differences. He had declared Tejashwi to be his heir-apparent during the 2010 Assembly polls.

In recent times, the RJD president has sought to push Tej Pratap in the forefront to help him get over his inhibitions in the rough and tumble of Bihar's politics.

Earlier this month, he chose to organise a high-profile iftar party ahead of the Eid festival at Tej Pratap's new bungalow and let him play the hosts to the teeming guests in an apparent bid to make him connect with the people.

In 2013, when Lalu was debarred from contesting elections after being convicted in the fodder scam, his political fate had looked bleak, but the victory of the Grand Alliance in the state Assembly polls brought him back into power last year.

Since then, he has been able to make both his sons ministers in the state government and send his eldest daughter Misa Bharti to the Rajya Sabha. However, it is Tejashwi who has emerged as his natural political successor among his children.

The jury is still out on whether Tej Pratap will be able to leave his mark in politics in future but he definitely needs more time to get used to his new roles and responsibilities.

It will be harsh to write him off so early in his career but he needs to learn a lesson or two in politics and governance not only from his father but also from his kid brother.

(Courtesy of Mail Today.)

Last updated: July 20, 2016 | 12:50
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