Speculation as to who will succeed him at the helm of RJD affairs appeared to be set to rest on Sunday when party chief Lalu Prasad declared that “a son is the natural heir to his father.”
The declaration appeared to be a setback to his politically ambitious eldest daughter Misa Bharti who had contested the Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat and lost to the BJP’s Ram Kripal Yadav in 2014.
But Prasad still left room for speculation over who, among his two sons Tej Pratap and Tejashwi, would get his nod to lead the show. Tejashwi, the younger son, was earlier seen as the chosen one but of late, Tej Pratap seems to have taken the lead.
Prasad’s statement came amid a ‘succession war’ in the RJD’s first family with both Misa and Tej Pratap reportedly pressing their father for a bigger role. Insiders said of late, Prasad had started promoting Tej Pratap as his ‘heir apparent’ by involving him in the 2014 campaign and giving him charge of the party’s youth wing.
It is believed Lalu’s wife Rabri Devi had thrown her weight behind her elder son to succeed her husband.
The issue of Prasad’s successor gained currency on Sunday when RJD MP Pappu Yadav raised the issue at the party’s national executive meeting. Sources said the RJD chief was upset with the move and in an effort to snub him, said, “It’s obvious a son is the natural heir to his father. There should not be any doubt on this score.”
Later, at a news conference, he said, “My entire family is part of the RJD and each member plays a role in party affairs,” he said.
Insiders say Prasad has his task cut out in fulfilling his children’s rising political aspirations and that too, at a time when the RJD is set to lose its identity as a regional outfit. There is speculation that during the coming rounds of merger talks, Lalu may bargain for tickets for his children.