While the RJD has declared Tejashwi Yadav, Leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly, as its Chief Minister nominee for the 2020 state polls, the party is wary of a challenge to his leadership from elder brother and former health minister Tej Pratap Yadav, sources said.
Although Tej Pratap reiterated his support to “Arjuna” Tejashwi by giving him a copy of Bhagwad Gita at RJD’s national executive meeting last week, some party leaders have been demanding action against him for campaigning against party candidates in the Lok Sabha election. The RJD drew a blank in this parliamentary election.
A senior RJD leader, who attended the national executive meeting, said, “Former CM Rabri Devi sat between her two sons as if she were playing the role of a mediator. She is trying to broker peace between Tej Pratap and Tejashwi.”
At the meeting, Rabri spoke of the need to “strengthen and re-energise” the party. Tejashwi took “an indirect dig” at Tej Pratap, saying it was getting difficult for the party’s state president Ramchandra Purve to function amid “pressures and verbal onslaught” by some leaders, said the RJD leader.
After rout, RJD in reboot mode
The RJD has officially announced Tejashwi as its CM nominee for the 2020 Assembly polls and has also given clear signals to Tej Pratap against further going against the party. Rabri Devi has been doing a fine balancing job between her two sons and also between Tejashwi’s leadership and party seniors.
Though the RJD has 81 MLAs, only about 40-45 MLAs attended the national executive meeting. “It is a clear sign of displeasure and disenchantment after the Lok Sabha poll drubbing,” said the RJD leader. Another RJD leader said, “Although Tej Pratap was cheered by some, there was not much support for him. Although no senior leader identified him as someone who should face action, the indications were clear.” The RJD announced Tejashwi as its Chief Minister nominee and reiterated that he is the “ekmatra (sole) leader” of the party at a time when party chief Lalu Prasad was in jail.
The NDA, meanwhile, has targeted Tejashwi for his poor attendance in the ongoing Assembly session. State minister Vijay Sinha blamed his absence on the “fight between the two brothers”. “Tejashwi perhaps wants his party to take action against Tej Pratap.”
RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tewary said, “They must not worry about our party. We stand united and have started preparations for Assembly polls.”