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Sons who silenced critics with victories over stiff opposition

india Updated: Nov 21, 2015 11:58 IST
Vijay Swaroop & Anish
Vijay Swaroop & Anish
Hindustan Times
Lalu Prasad

Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav with other RJD MLAs during a meeting in Patna.(PTI Photo)

When 26-year-old Tejashwi Yadav took oath as Bihar’s deputy chief minister on Friday immediately after JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar was sworn in to lead the government, it heralded a new era in the eastern state’s politics.

The RJD legislator, son of former chief ministers Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi, became the youngest politician in the state to get the post while his elder brother, Tej Pratap Yadav, joined the cabinet as health minister following a thumping election win in alliance with the JD(U) and Congress.

Their first date with electoral politics brought embarrassment for the family after 27-year-old Tej Pratap’s poll affidavit suggested he was younger than his younger sibling, drawing flak on social media and barbs from rivals. However, the brothers silenced critics by winning their seats with ease.

Their victory also announced the comeback of their father and RJD founder, Lalu Prasad, who was a key architect behind the coalition’s win and his party raking in the most seats after spending years in the wilderness following his conviction and imprisonment in a fodder scam case.

In his electoral debut, Tejashwi defeated sitting BJP leader Satish Kumar by a margin of over 22,000 votes. The victory was seen as retribution for the loss his mother, Rabri Devi, suffered in the previous assembly election at the hands of Kumar who was then in the JD(U).

The tech-savvy politician is quite active on social media, using the platform to reach out to followers and attack rivals.

As a former cricketer, he played for Jharkhand in a Ranji Trophy tournament and was also picked in the Delhi under-19 team. He was purchased by the Delhi Daredevils IPL franchise four times between 2008 and 2012, but did not get a single game.

With the spotlight always on his younger brother, Tej Pratap had maintained a low profile, failing to complete his graduation but quietly learning the ropes of politics in college and from his famous father.

“He is a Shiva and Krishna devotee,” said his campaign manager, Udai Shankar. “He makes it a point to visit a Shiva temple everyday and Patna’s ISKCON temple twice or thrice a week.”