Raghuvansh Prasad blames Lalu’s sons for RJD’s poll debacle
Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) senior leader and former union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh on Tuesday joined his party colleague and legislator from Gaighat constituency in Muzaffarpur district, Maheshwar Prasad Yadav, by openly revolting against the dynastic politics in the party.
Singh categorically blamed party chief Lalu Prasad’s two sons, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi Yadav for the party’s rout in the state and suggested that they should 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,” Singh, said, adding that the party should have acted tough by taking disciplinary action against Tej Pratap when he had openly turned rebellious and was damaging the prospects of the party’s officially nominated candidates.
This was the worst performance by RJD in any LS election in the last 22 years. The party had contested 19 seats in alliance with the Congress and four other regional parties under the umbrella of the Grand Alliance (GA) but miserably failed to open its account. RJD leaders sharing Singh’s views said that there were at least two seats where the party lost primarily due to Tej Pratap’s anti-party activities but no action was taken against him.
“This election threw open rampant disparities prevailing in the party. When former MP and senior leader MAA Fatmi revolted and announced he would contest the Madhubani seat as an independent after being denied a ticket, the party leadership (read Tejashwi) wasted no time in suspending him. However, when Tej Pratap not only fielded rebel leaders against RJD’s official nominees in a couple of seats but also campaigned for them, the party leadership remained silent. If this continues, the party will cease to exist,” said another legislator, who requested anonymity.
Reports of dissent against Tejashwi’s autocratic style of functioning have also started emanating from several districts where leaders and grass root workers are demanding Lalu’s youngest son to own responsibility for the party’s rout and step down.
RJD state president Ram Chandra Purve, however, clarified that the party believes in collective ownership in both victory and defeat. He said Tejashwi remains RJD’s face in Bihar and the party will contest the 2020 assembly polls under his leadership. He denied that Tejashwi will step down.
The opposition hailed Singh’s allegations against the Tej brothers with its leaders stating that Lalu Prasad’s sons have spoiled the party’s legacy and prospects. JD (U) senior leader and national spokesperson K C Tyagi said that people with lack of political understanding and experience have taken over the party’s helm.
Tyagi said, “Tejashwai indulges in negative politics. The party has ignored interests of several top leaders, who had stood by Lalu during the early days of the party. They are no more involved in the decision making.”
BJP leader and Begusarai MP Giriraj Singh said that Tejashwi should own moral responsibility for the party’s debacle and step down.
Tej Pratap’s appeal to Tejashwi
Minutes before the RJD’s all important review meeting began at the residence of former chief minister Rabri Devi on Tuesday evening to discuss reasons behind their rout, disgruntled leader and Lalu-Rabri’s eldest son, Tej Pratap Yadav sent an emotional letter to his younger brother and party’s chief ministerial candidate, Tejashwi Yadav distancing himself from results.
In the letter accessed by HT, Tej Pratap told his younger brother that those who distributed tickets and fought elections should own responsibility for the party’s dismal performance. “I had evinced interest to field two very committed and efficient candidates from Jehanabad and Sheohar, but nobody paid heed to my requests. Let bygones be bygones. You should never even consider stepping down. Let’s join hands and work together for the forthcoming assembly polls.”
Advising his younger sibling to keep up the fighting spirit through a popular Hindi poem, he said that those who struggle never get defeated. “Analyse and introspect the causes of defeat and work harder to plug those loopholes. I am sure, in 2020 assembly polls, together we will emerge victorious.”
Later speaking to ANI, he said that its time for the party to focus on the 2020 assembly polls and be united shedding all differences. “Let’s not blame the leader solely for the defeat. Alone the leader cannot win a battle for you. The soldiers have to remain united and put up a collective fight. Nobody should raise fingers at my brother’s leadership qualities and potentials. He gave his best. Still, if anyone has a problem with Tejashwi, he may quit the party and go. I will stand by my brother and together we will turn the tide in 2020,” he said.
Blaming the EVM machines for cheating the mandate, he said had his father been out of jail, the scene would have been different today. “He had a mesmerizing impact on the people.”