A first cousin of Tej Pratap Yadav’s estranged wife was inducted into the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) here on Thursday, in a move that may be aimed at checkmating political rebellion by in-laws of Lalu Prasad’s elder son in the run-up to assembly elections in Bihar.
Karishma Roy, a dentist by profession and grand daughter of former chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai, joined the RJD at its state headquarters in presence of the party’s chief ministerial candidate Tejashwi Yadav.
Her father Bidhan Chandra Roy, a businessman and social worker, is the elder brother of RJD MLA Chandrika Roy whose daughter Aishwarya is engaged in a nasty marital dispute with Tej Pratap Yadav.
The couple had tied the knot in May, 2018 but the husband filed for divorce barely six months later. With the divorce petition pending, the wife chose to stay with her mother-in-law, former chief minister Rabri Devi, but was allegedly ousted from her house in December last year, capping a series of run-ins with relatives of her estranged husband.
Chandrika Roy had, thereafter, vowed to avenge the insult by fighting the proverbial “first family” of the RJD in every possible way, including “politically”.
At the outset, though, the party chose to downplay the family angle to Karishma Roys induction.
“Please do not view the development through the prism of family. Karishma’s decision to join the party hints towards the karishma (miracle) the party is going to perform in the elections. More and more people are getting attracted towards the party and the young and dynamic leadership of Tejashwi Yadav,” RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told reporters on the occasion.
He also claimed that the embarrassing split suffered by the party last month on account of five sitting MLCs walking over to the JD(U) headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had triggered a backlash within the ruling NDA.
“Many leaders of the JD(U) as well as the BJP are also in touch with our party’s leadership. They have expressed their faith in the ideology of Lalu Prasad and the leadership of Tejashwi Yadav. The NDA will receive a much bigger jolt than we did,” he claimed.
When approached, Roy said her father’s close ties with Lalu Prasad predated her uncle’s foray into politics.
She also sought to make light of her uncle’s frequent tirades against the Lalu family and the wish to join JD(U) which he expressed earlier this year.
“I cannot comment on my uncle. I am like his daughter. He is a veteran in politics while I am a newbie. I can only say that I shall be a committed soldier of the party and would gladly perform any role that I am assigned,” she said.
She also dismissed as “hypothetical” queries as to whether she would campaign against her own uncle if he broke ranks and fought against the RJD in the next assembly polls.
Meanwhile, the BJP often accused by the RJD of surreptitiously instigating Chandrika Roy came out with a statement denouncing the RJD for putting up “a charade of deference to late Daroga Prasad Rai’s family”.
“Karishma Roy is an educated daughter of our community. In a democracy everyone is free to pursue political ambitions as per choice. But let the RJD not deceive people and make them believe that it respects the late leader’s family. It cannot wash away the sin of Aishwarya’s humiliation. Lalu family needs to publicly apologize to her, BJP spokesman Nikhil Anand, a Yadav by caste, said in his statement.
Speculations are rife that Chandrika Roy was planning to go all out against the family in the assembly elections and that in the event of Tej Pratap Yadav entering the fray, the father or the daughter may contest against him.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines