Lalu Prasad Yadav to Push Son Tejashwi Yadav as Face of Non-BJP Front; Opposition Faces Unity Test
Lalu Prasad Yadav, convicted in a fodder scam case, can’t contest elections and has been trying to promote his 28-year-old son, Tejashwi Yadav as the face of non-NDA parties.
Hoardings that announce the 'Desh Bachao – Bhajpa Bhagao’ rally show Tejashwi Yadav in 'Baahubali' avatar. (Image: Alok Kumar/News18)
Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav will try to project his son and heir apparent Tejashwi Yadav as the leader of the non-BJP front during his ‘Desh Bachao – Bhajpa Bhagao’ rally on August 27.
In hoardings that announce the rally, Tejashwi, who was recently ousted as Bihar deputy chief minister, has been painted as Bahubali. He had recently posted a video also showing himself as the fantasy character. The video took was modelled after the movie and the memes that followed, asking by Baahubali was killed by Katappa, a veiled dig at Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar.
Ever since Nitish broke away from the Grand Alliance with Congress and the RJD, Tejashwi has been playing the victim in the Assembly and outside. During his state-wide ‘Janadesh Apman Yatra’, he accused Nitish Kumar of “backstabbing” him and “insulting” the people’s mandate by joining hands with the BJP.
Lalu Yadav, convicted in a fodder scam case, can’t contest elections and has been trying to promote his 28-year-old son as the face of non-NDA parties. He has been supporting Tejashwi’s comments in the Assembly, which has witnessed uproarious scenes over the Srijan scam.
Tejashwi, now the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, has demanded the resignation of CM Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Modi, saying the scam took place when the NDA was in power in the state between 2005 and 2013.
(Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/News18)
But Lalu’s efforts have met a roadblock in Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Mayawati, who will not be attending his anti-BJP rally.
Lalu, however, tried to downplay their decision to give the rally a miss, saying, “Soniaji is not well, but CP Joshi and Ghulam Nabi Azad will represent the Congress party.”
Satish Mishra from the BSP, Akhilesh Yadav from the Samajwadi Party (SP), TMC chief Mamata Banerjee, Farooq Abdullah from the National Conference and rebel JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav will attend the rally.
RJD spokesman Manoj Jha told News18 that Tejashwi has groomed himself as a firebrand young leader and his speech in the Assembly as Leader of Opposition has been appreciated by all opposition leaders.
“In our democracy, it is important to see who can bring votes for the party. Other senior leaders also understand this reality. So, everyone is encouraging Tejashwi to take the fight against the BJP ahead,” Jha said.
(Image courtesy: Alok Kumar/News18)
When asked why Rahul Gandhi, who joined Sharad Yadav’s conclave, will not be attending Lalu’s rally, Jha said, “Representation is more important than a leader.”
Rahul Gandhi has not shared the dais with Lalu since the latter’s conviction in the fodder scam case in 2013.
The ruling JD(U) and BJP have raised doubts over opposition unity, saying the RJD rally would be “a big flop”. They have attacked Lalu for going ahead with the massive rally despite a severe flood situation in the state. BJP state unit chief Nityanad Rai has termed Lalu’s rally as a ‘Pariwar Bachao – Rajniti Chamkao’ event.
The state unit of the Congress is also believed to be skeptical as the party has already decided to hold a rally in the same Gandhi Maidan in September or October. State Congress president Ashok Chaudhary has said his party does not endorse the RJD’s demand for Nitish Kumar’s resignation.
A section of the party has reportedly conveyed to senior leader Jyotiraditya Scindia that the party should focus on strengthening its base instead of following any regional party.
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