The biggest challenge being faced by Tejashwi Yadav is not from outside but from within. To reign in his motormouth brother Tej Pratap Yadav has become imperative but Tejashwi seems to be resisting the temptation for the same.
Obviously Tejashwi Yadav is more mature than his elder brother and will abstain from washing the dirty linen in public. But while he may be making desperate attempts to send out a semblance of all being well within the party, the ugly reality keeps surfacing again and again.
Now he is faced with the biggest challenge of either reigning in his elder brother who in a brazen display of arrogance has been insulting the senior leaders of the party with no remorse.
Those insulted include a galaxy of such leaders who walked shoulder to shoulder with Lalu Prasad Yadav during his days of struggle and can claim their vast contribution to the party.
All of a sudden in a party dominated by the Lalu family such leaders are seen having not just an identity crisis but also a pall of gloom seems to have descended on their future.
Unable to take the repeated insults of Tej Pratap Yadav the state president of the party Jagdanand Singh had offered to resign. It required much Cajoling by Lalu himself to convince his trusted friend to remain in the party.
Jagdanand tried to bury the hatchet. But Teja Pratap who blatantly refuses to sheathe his sword has rained fresh abuses on him. And why? Just because Jagdanand is trying to weave some discipline into a party which still is unable to break free from the shackles of having allegedly ushered in the so-called, ” Jungle Raj.
Repeated onslaughts on the senior leadership of the party can be highly detrimental as instances like these get permanently etched into the minds of the people who double up as vote bank.
Tej pratap bluntly dares to call names to a person in whose lap he grew up and possibly learn the first letters of politics. The message has been sent loud and clear to the leaders who have stood rock solid with Tejashwi Yadav and Lalu even when the political pundits had almost confined the party to the dustbin of oblivion.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh was humiliated and he died days later . But the humiliations keep echoing. Jagdanand Singh, a very committed leader of the party has been trying to infuse some discipline.
This is being not only resented by Tej Pratap Yadav but also a semblance of open defiance is being sent out loud and clear.
Tej Pratap is still to reconcile with the fact that he will always have to play the second fiddle within the RJD. He fails to realize that Tejashwi Yadav, his younger brother has already stepped into the shoes of Lalu Prasad Yadav.
Tejashwi deftly led the party in the 2020 elections and managed to emerge the single largest party even when Lalu was in Jail. While Tejashwi was seen pushing full throttle and eventually registered major gains despite a galaxy of leaders on the other side, Tej Pratap was confined to his constituency.
There could have been a spillover effect of Tej Pratap, had he decided to campaign outside his constituency . Tejashwi however deftly handled the situation then; but is it that the family feud is now beyond his control and he is unable to reign in the growing ambitions of Tej Pratap Yadav?
He will have to muster the courage to deal it with iron hands . It’s widely being speculated that the exit of Jagdanand Singh can trigger a chain reaction and can lead to a highly volatile situation within the party. Even prior to 2014 Lok Sabha elections, exodus from the party had almost wiped out the very existence of the RJD.
Lalu had to walk up to the Raj Bhawan even as his elder son was seen enjoying the comfort of his SUV while following Lalu to the Raj Bhawan.
The grass on the other side of the fence is always greener; obviously the disgruntled among the RJD will have ready acceptance in the JDU and even the BJP.
Tej Pratap’s histrionics; his story of divorce ; him taking up the life of a recluse and coming back again to active politics has reduced him to a farce. And he has proved that he can act without the slightest compunction even against his own party.
After all he defied the party stand and had put in his own candidates. He had the temerity to call Raghuvansh Prasad and belittle his contributions and stature.
Tej Pratap has geyserian instincts and the same acts as a dampener for a party which is struggling hard to be back in power. And that’s the toughest challenge Tejashwi faces in the days to come.
And there is no scope to sweep the dirt under the carpet this time.
(Shiv Pujan Jha is a Consulting Editor with India Ahead. The views expressed in the article are those of the author.)