Their second time in government, RJD leaders and Lalu Prasad’s sons Tejashwi Yadav and elder brother Tej Pratap have run into their first spot of embarrassment.
“Photographs have appeared of the two holding official meetings with aides in attendance, drawing charges of “outsourcing governance” to “furthering family interests”. If Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi had his political advisor Sanjay Yadav with him, Tej Pratap, the Forestry and Climate Change Minister, had his brother-in-law Shailesh Kumar sit in.”
The developments became public courtesy Tej Pratap himself, when he enthusiastically shared images of a meeting he presided upon on August 18. The images were later deleted but by then many had spotted that one of the persons seated with him was Shailesh Kumar, the husband of Tej Pratap’s sister Misa Bharti, who is a Rajya Sabha MP.
Two video clips were soon doing the rounds of Shailesh Kumar at an official meeting with Tej Pratap.
The official explanation was that Kumar had come to “congratulate” Tej Pratap and had stayed back for a “chat”.
The BJP, robbed of power after key ally JD(U) tied up with the RJD, was quick and caustic in its response. “It is not at all surprising since whatever may be the RJD’s posturing with regard to its politics of casteism and religious appeasement, the party is basically meant to further the interests of the family,” BJP spokesperson Nikhil Anand said in a statement.
In a swipe at Tej Pratap, often accused of being not equipped for the ministry, Anand added: “Tej Pratap Yadav should not be taken lightly. He could become a good minister with Shaileshji.”
BJP Rajya Sabha MP Sushil Kumar Modi put out a video statement. “Son-in-law in the government meeting of the elder son and worker in the meeting of the younger son? Has Nitish ji (Chief Minister Nitish Kumar) now given permission for son-in-law/worker to sit in government meetings?” Sushil Modi asked, while noting that Tej Pratap was always in the news for “all the wrong reasons”.
पथ निर्माण की बैठक में भी संजय यादव मौजूद हैं।यदि वे उनके निजी सचिव भी हों तो वे वहाँ नहीं बैठ सकते ।protocol के अनुसार अंत में या पीछे बैठेंगे।परंतु नीतीशजी मजबूर हैं। pic.twitter.com/s1LBtU5ehE
— Sushil Kumar Modi (@SushilModi) August 19, 2022
He went on to link what had happened with “fears of the return of jungle raj in the state”. “The incident involving Laluji’s son-in-law is a clear sign that the RJD supremo will try to interfere in the workings of the new government,” he said, adding that many new ministers too had criminal records.
Hours later, Sushil Modi shared a picture of Sanjay Yadav with Tejashwi, asking how a political advisor could sit in the front. “According to protocol, he should sit at the end or at the back,” he said, adding that Nitish Kumar’s hands were tied.
While the JD(U) refused to comment on the matter, RJD leader Shakto Yadav said the media was blowing the matter “out of proportion”.
Tej Pratap chose not to respond directly to allegations, instead tweeting a philosophical: “Winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference.”
(With PTI inputs)