In a party where leaders are not really known for their initiative, Congress Khagaria Sadar MLA Chhatrapati Yadav has thrown his hat in the ring.
With Cabinet expansion of the new Mahagathbandhan government any time soon, Yadav believes the Congress should pick him for the two-three Cabinet berths likely to fall in its kitty. He has gone ahead and written to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, making a case for himself.
Not much known among political circles in Patna, Yadav, 54, believes he has a distinct claim to a ministry: for being the Congress’s only Yadav MLA in the state. The return of the RJD to power means the Yadavs are expected to again enjoy a position of prominence in the state.
While it might not be enough for the Congress to give him a ministry, Yadav did score an impressive win in the 2020 Assembly elections, defeating four-time JD(U) MLA Poonam Devi Yadav from Khagaria Sadar. It was the first time the Congress had won the seat since 1985. Yadav also comes from political lineage, with his father having served as a minister under several Congress governments in Bihar.
Confirming he had written a letter to Sonia, apart from Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Bihar PCC president Madan Mohan Jha, demanding that he be made a minister in the Nitish Kumar-led Mahagathbandhan government, Yadav told The Indian Express: “There is nothing wrong in speaking my mind to our leaders. I am the only Yadav MLA of the Congress. If I am made a minister, it would send a good message to my community and other OBC groups.”
The politics of Bihar was changing, he added. “The Congress also needs to reformulate its politics. I am not apologetic about my demand. I wrote to my leaders what I felt. I believe in direct communication.”
Yadav admitted some leaders had called him up to say he had “not done the right thing”, but that there had been no formal communication of any kind from the state unit.
Yadav’s father Rajendra Prasad Yadav was a minister under CMs Jagannath Mishra, Bindeshwari Dubey and Bhagwat Jha Azad.
A post-graduate from Magadh University, Yadav started out as a journalist with Aaj and later worked with Lok Patra. “From journalism, I switched to trade unionism, but continued to work for Khagaria.”
In 1998 and 2004, Yadav contested the Lok Sabha polls from Balia as an Independent, but did not make much impact.
The Congress is believed to have given him a ticket in the 2020 Assembly polls due to his previous electoral experience and because of his father.
Yadav says he, however, had to start from scratch. His father Rajendra Prasad Yadav had been an MLA from Hasanpur in Samastipur, but the constituency is now represented by RJD leader Tej Pratap Yadav. Yadav’s own native seat, Alauli, was reserved.
“So I had to nurse another constituency. I knew Poonam Devi Yadav had a strong presence, but I fought hard and won by a slender margin against her. I am happy that I won back the seat for the Congress after 35 years.”
In his election affidavit, Yadav declared assets worth Rs 30.6 lakh.
Bihar Congress chief Madan Mohan Jha said it was up to the Central high command to decide who would become minister.
The Bihar Cabinet expansion is expected after August 15.