Tej Pratap’s father-in-law skips RJD membership drive, sparks off buzz
The RJD functionary said Rai has not even managed to enrol a single member against the target of at least 15,000 to 20,000 people that each MLA is supposed to bring to the party’s fold.Updated: Sep 06, 2019 07:01 IST
Even as the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD’s) membership drive is underway, a close relative of the party’s jailed chief Lalu Prasad and senior legislator Chandrika Rai has not renewed his membership yet.
The apparent reluctance of Rai, whose daughter is married to Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, to take the party’s membership has stocked speculations on the growing distance between Rai and the RJD chief’s family. Tej Pratap has filed for divorce against his daughter Aishwariya Rai.
Sources in the RJD said Chandrika Rai, who is an MLA from Parsa and had unsuccessfully contested the Saran parliamentary seat in Lok Sabha election this year, has neither taken any interest in the membership drive nor has he been regular in attending party meetings.
“Chandrika Rai has not become a member yet in the current drive. He has not collected his receipt of membership from the party office so far,” confirmed a senior functionary at the party’s state office.
The RJD functionary said Rai has not even managed to enrol a single member against the target of at least 15,000 to 20,000 people that each MLA is supposed to bring to the party’s fold.
The RJD has set a target of crossing its membership by 50 lakh and intends to add 15-20 lakh new members in the ongoing drive, which started in the first week of August.
“How can Rai make members when he has not become a member himself?” he asked.
Rai said while speaking to HT that he had not renewed his membership in the party yet.
“Yes, I have not become a member,” he said. Asked about the reason for not taking up the fresh membership as mandated for all MLAs, he said, “I am busy with other work”.
When asked specifically whether his decision could be construed as a step by him to snap ties with the RJD, Rai seemed evasive. “You are drawing too many conclusions,” he said.
However, it is evident with a buzz in political circles that Rai has apparently distanced himself from the party peeved over his ties going sour with the RJD’s first family in recent months.
The RJD’s state spokesperson Shakti Yadav said he had no information that Rai has not taken the party’s membership.
“I do not know about it. I will enquire and then speak on it,” he said, claiming the party’s membership drive was receiving encouraging response across the state.
Incidentally, the RJD’s Keoti MLA Faraj Fatmi has also not taken the membership receipt from the party. Fatmi, the son of former Union minister MAA Fatmi, could not be reached for his comments as his phone was switched off.
“Only two MLAs have not taken the membership against 79 sitting MLAs of the party,” said an RJD functionary.
The RJD had won 81 seats in the 2015 assembly polls but lost two seats in by-elections.