Not just imprisonment, tension in Lalu Yadav’s family might spoil 2019 polls for RJD

Patna: RJD supremo Lalu Yadav – who recently failed to manage a bail in fodder scam cases – has an additional trouble brewing for his family. Confirming the longtime speculation that all is not well between Lalu’s sons – Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav – the leader’s daughter Misa Bharti on Monday acknowledged “manmutav” or differences between her brothers.

“Five fingers are never the same. In my family, there are differences between my brothers…RJD is a bigger family,” said Misa, a Rajya Sabha parliamentarian of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the oldest of Lalu Yadav-Rabri Devi’s nine children.

She added that it was “common these days” for brothers in any family to have strained relations.

Misa was speaking at a “Litti-Chokha” get-together of party workers on the outskirts of Patna in the Patliputra constituency – where she lost in 2014 and pledged to contest again. Misa’s admission, though tempered somewhat by the claim that there are enough votes coming to the party, is a blow to her father and party chief Lalu Yadav.

Tension between the brothers

  • Last week, the jailed Bihar politician, desperate to keep his family united while he serves his sentence for corruption, summoned both brothers to Ranchi, where he is being treated at a jail hospital.
  • The family meeting was aimed at de-escalation, with the tension between the brothers almost paralyzing party activity just months before the 2019 national election.
  • Tejashwi, the 29-year-old former cricketer now seen as his father’s political heir, denied any bickering with his older brother. His father warned that the sibling rivalry could not have peaked at a worse time for the party.
  • Tejashwi and Tej Pratap were both ministers in Bihar till last year, when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar dumped the RJD and revived his ties with the BJP. Nitish Kumar cited corruption charges against Tejashwi, who was his deputy, as the reason behind the swap.
  • When Tejashwi, after his father’s imprisonment, took control as the state opposition leader and showed immense promise, Misa, a doctor, and Tej Pratap, an actor, reportedly chafed at their younger brother’s rising stature in the party.