Patna Durbar

Why I am not surprised Lalu's sons were elected ministers in Bihar

As always, blood is thicker than water for the RJD chief.

 |  Patna Durbar  |  4-minute read |   23-11-2015
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Rashtriya Janata Dal president Lalu Prasad’s decision to foist his sons as ministers in the Nitish Kumar government may have come as shocker to many but it was not all that surprising for those who have observed the rise, fall and the rise of the Bihar strongman over the years.

Lalu, for one, has never been apologetic about promoting his family members ahead of other competent leaders in his party. He has had no qualms in talking eloquently in favour of dynastic politics.

Going by his long-standing belief on the issue, the anointment of his youngest son Tejaswi Prasad Yadav as the deputy chief minister and the selection of his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav as a minister with three key portfolios should have come a natural corollary of the gigantic victory of the Grand Alliance, in which the RJD had made the largest contribution.

Also read: Why Lalu will not make Nitish Kumar the biggest loser of Bihar elections

As a matter of fact, it would have been a bigger surprise had Lalu let them learn the ropes of real politics over a period of time before handing over such responsibilities to them.

Lalu, of course, has come under scathing attack for promoting his greenhorn sons having undistinguished academic records in such a brazen way. Many critics have suggested that he would have done well to make seasoned party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui as the deputy chief minister instead of Tejaswi.

But it would have been out of character for a politician who had once shown the political chutzpah to appoint his homemaker wife Rabri Devi as the chief minister ahead of the other, more qualified people of his government. More recently, he proved once again that blood is thicker than water in his scheme of things when he fielded his eldest daughter Misa Bharti as the RJD candidate from Patliputra seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls overlooking the claims of hard-working party leaders such as Ram Kripal Yadav. Over the years, Lalu has never been known for following the norms of inner party democracy and has always shown the door to anybody who has dared to raise voice against his penchant for dynastic politics, the latest example being Lok Sabha MP Pappu Yadav, who had fancied his chances of becoming his political successor. Lalu not only expelled him from the party but also made it clear that only sons could be the inheritors of his political legacy.

Also read: Mahagathbandhan's win has made my worst nightmare come true

The real issue here is not how Lalu has made a travesty of the good, old democratic traditions by putting the interest of his family above his party all these years. What is more important for Bihar now is whether Lalu will make use of the people’s latest mandate for his own political redemption through his sons.

Lalu's 15-year-long regime in the past was an era of wasted opportunities as far as Bihar’s development is concerned. His remarkable achievement in the field of social justice also lost its sheen under the lengthening shadows of corruption and lawlessness that his party’s government came to symbolise later. In fact, he failed to get rid of the proverbial albatross of Jungle Raj (anarchic rule) even after passing muster as the railway minister in the Manmohan Singh government.

Lalu now has a big opportunity to refurbish his image. Tejaswi and Tej Pratap are still in their mid-20s and will need years of experience to attain political maturity regardless of the high profile posts that have got now. They will, therefore, require constant monitoring and counselling by their father who had once committed the mistake of giving unbridled power to his controversial brothers-in-law.

Lalu’s biggest job in the next five years is to help his sons grasp the significance of development centric politics and let them learn the lessons of good governance under the watchful eyes of Nitish Kumar. Lalu has to remember that the success of the Grand Alliance government will not be Nitish’s triumph alone this time. He will remain an equal partner for each of its feats or fiasco. He has to ultimately prove that he has learnt many lessons from the past regardless of his sustained belief in dynastic politics.

Also read: What Biharis owe Lalu


Giridhar Jha Giridhar Jha @giridhar_jha

Senior Journalist at Mail Today.

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