Former minister questions Lalu’s sons, unease in RJD
Former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Tuesday blamed the rift between Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) founder Lalu Prasad’s sons, Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav, for their party’s rout in the Lok Sabha polls. He asked them to introspect and act accordingly.
“The ongoing feud between Tej Pratap and Tejashwi has led to the party’s worst performance ever in the Lok Sabha polls,” said Singh.
The RJD could not win any seat in Bihar, where Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance swept the national polls and won 39 out of the 40 seats. Singh said the RJD should have acted tough by taking disciplinary action against Tej Pratap Yadav when he rebelled openly and was damaged the prospects of the party’s candidates.H
Many RJD leaders, who spoke on condition of anonymity, echoed Singh and added they lost at least two seats due to Tej’s “anti-party” activities for which no action was taken. “…rampant disparities were exposed in the party. When former Parliament member MAA Fatmi revolted and announced he would contest Madhubani seat as an independent after being denied a ticket, the party leadership suspended him. However, Tej Pratap not only fielded rebel leaders against the RJD’s official nominees but also campaigned for them… the party leadership remained silent. If this continues, the party will cease to exist,” said an RJD legislator.
There have been murmurs of dissent within the RJD over Tejashwi Yadav’s “autocratic style of functioning”, said people familiar with the matter. Several grassroots workers are demanding that he should take responsibility for the party’s rout and step down, they added.
RJD’s state president, Ram Chandra Purve, insisted that the party believes in collective ownership of both victory and defeat. He said Tejashwi Yadav remains RJD’s face in Bihar and the party will contest 2020 assembly polls under his leadership. He dismissed reports that Tejashwi Yadav was stepping down.
Tej Pratap separately sent a letter to his younger brother, requesting him not to quit. “Let bygones be bygones. You should never even consider stepping down. Let us join hands and work together for the forthcoming assembly polls.”
Tej Pratap said he wanted to field two “very committed and efficient candidates” from Jehanabad and Sheohar, but nobody heeded his requests. “…those who struggle never get defeated. Analyse and introspect the causes of the defeat and work harder to plug loopholes. I am sure, in the 2020 assembly polls, together we will emerge victorious,” the letter read.
He later told news agency ANI that it was time for the party to focus on 2020 assembly polls and get united. “Let us not blame the leader solely for the defeat. Alone the leader cannot win a battle for you. The soldiers have to remain united and give a collective fight.”