With Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad sentenced to five years in jail, his cricketer-turned-politician son Tejaswi Yadav is suddenly making news. Many party workers have declared him their new chief, but he vehemently denies stepping into his father’s shoes. HT spoke to Tejaswi. Excerpts:
What’s next for RJD?
We will go to masses and expose the nefarious designs of the BJP and JD(U) who conspired against our popular leader. But we have complete faith in the nation’s judicial system. My father is innocent and will be out of jail soon.
Several party workers and leaders want you to succeed your father…
No way. Laluji is, was and will remain our leader. Aaj bhi Lalu, kal bhi Lalu, hum bhi Lalu, tum bhi Lalu. There is none who can replace him in the party.
Your elevation will give the party a young look.
This is a party of, for and by the workers who comprise all sections of society. Youth have a formidable strength in the party. Also, there are seniors devoted to the party. My mother Rabri Devi is one of them. We will collectively fight, and run the party.
Won’t Lalu’s absence weaken the party?
It will instead gain in strength. And who said he is going to remain in jail for long. We will appeal in the high court, which, we are sure, will give relief to our party chief. Laluji is not an ordinary politician. He has become an ideology. It would be hard to wipe him out.
Your father has been convicted on corruption charges? Does it affect you and the party?
My father is a victim of deep-rooted conspiracy. If you study the scam and the cases that followed, you would learn he was a whistle blower. He ordered a probe after the scam was unearthed.
Does the growing bonhomie between the Congress and JD(U) worry RJD? If offered, will you go to polls with the Congress?
We will join hands with all secular forces to keep communal forces out of power.
Inputs from Deepak Mahato