With Lalu Prasad convicted, the RJD is looking at his son, leader of Opposition in Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, to take charge of the party in Lalu’s absence. While that was almost a given in a party that has had members of Lalu Prasad’s family helming the front, a senior RJD leader said that Tejashwi have to show maturity, and heart, to take along senior party leaders, as also adroitly tackle elder brother Tej Pratap, who is known to make controversial remarks that “unfortunately makes more news”.
Pointing out that Lalu Prasad has always had a “larger than life impact” on RJD, and Bihar politics, a senior leader said, “Laluji’s conviction, and possible absence from political action, has presented a big opportunity to Tejashwi to show his leadership potential. He will have to show maturity to take along senior leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jagdanand Singh and Shivanand Tewary.”
“Tejashwi Yadav is our undisputed leader but our supreme leader — Lalu Prasad — has not gone anywhere. He will continue to guide the party,” Shakti Singh Yadav, RJD MLA and a close Lalu aide said hours after the court verdict.
Another RJD leader said that the party will not suffer much if Lalu gets bail soon. “We are a victim of political vendetta. We will play it up further,” the leader said. “But Tejashwi’s leadership potential will be tested if there is longer incarceration. With Rabri Devi not very politically active, Tejashwi has to hold fort, and Tej Pratap will have to cooperate.”
The leader said Tejashwi cannot afford to antagonise Tej Pratap has a big following — “he has raised a cadre of young followers under his apolitical organisation, Darnirpeksh Sevak Sangh”.