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Saturday, Aug 17, 2019

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav resurfaces after a month, cites injury for absence

The heir apparent to his father and RJD’s incarcerated chief Lalu Prasad, in another message, explained the reason for his absence starting on May 29.

india Updated: Jul 02, 2019 11:36 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Patna
Tejashwi’s long absence from Patna had sparked much speculation in the RJD. There was talk that  he was staying away from Patna, upset that senior party leaders were blaming him for the RJD’s debacle in the general election, in which it failed to win even one Lok Sabha seat.
Tejashwi’s long absence from Patna had sparked much speculation in the RJD. There was talk that he was staying away from Patna, upset that senior party leaders were blaming him for the RJD’s debacle in the general election, in which it failed to win even one Lok Sabha seat. (Santosh Kumar/Hindustan Times)
         

After staying away from Bihar politics for a month,Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav resurfaced on Saturday, not physically but on Twitter, to say he was “very much here.” Yadav, Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar assembly, said he had been under treatment for an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) that helps stabilise the knee.

“We are accountable to people who look for a socialist-secular and social justice alternative in us and wish to assure that we are very much here and the fight is on. My dear Bihar! I am very much here,” Yadav wrote in one message on Twitter.

The heir apparent to his father and RJD’s incarcerated chief Lalu Prasad, in another message, explained the reason for his absence starting on May 29. “ For last few weeks, I was busy undergoing treatment for my long-delayed ligament and ACL injury. However, I am amused to see political opponents as well as a section of media cooking up spicy stories”.

Tejashwi’s long absence from Patna had sparked much speculation in the RJD. There was talk that he was staying away from Patna, upset that senior party leaders were blaming him for the RJD’s debacle in the general election, in which it failed to win even one Lok Sabha seat. He was also ostensibly annoyed by his eldest sister and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti’s interference in the party’s affairs and by the behaviour of his brother Tej Pratap, who has indicated that he was thinking of launching a new party called Tej Sena.

Close aides to Yadav said he was staying in New Delhi.and would arrive in Patna in day or two. “ Our leader is undergoing treatment and he will be here soon,” said RJD’s Bhai Virendra.

On the deaths of over 150 children because of acute encephalitis syndrome (AES) in Muzaffarpur and other districts, the Yadav scion wrote in another tweet that he had been following the developments. “In this tragic moment asked party workers, leaders to visit affected families without getting into photo-opportunities and MPs to raise it in Parliament and that is why PM responded”.

He also said the RJD would fight for the cause of the poor with renewed commitment.

His series of tweets, a day after the start of the monsoon session of the state legislature, triggered speculation that the RJD leader had taken to the micro blogging site at least partly to counter claims by the ruling National Democratic Alliance that he had become a recluse because of his party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

On Friday, former chief minister Rabri Devi, his mother, lost her temper when asked about Tejashwi Yadav’s whereabouts. “ He is in your home,” she snapped at one reporter.

“ If Tejashwi is ill, how could he help other ill patients? The opposition leader is acting like a school kid and totally dejected after the party’s poll debacle. Had he been so concerned about AES deaths, why didn’t he visit Muzaffarpur,” said ruling Janata Dal (United) spokesperson Sanjy Singh on the opposition leader’s tweets.

People familiar with the situation said on condition of anonymity that Yadav had told his father Lalu Prasad, incarcerated in connection with the so-called fodder scam that dates back many years, that he would not helm the party unless given a free hand on organisational matters.

Party insiders said his proposition would be hard to implement because senior leaders and a section of MLAs are not comfortable with the son’s leadership and continue to repose faith in Prasad, who still calls the shots in the party.

Senior leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and former MP Jagdanand Singh on Saturday openly defended Yadav’s absence from state politics.

The former was angry when asked about over his whereabouts. He said: “People have voted for PM Narendra Modi and they should look for the premier. Did the PM come to Muzaffarpur to see the children who died due to AES?. Tejashwi is not chief minister or PM. Why are people so anxious about his whereabouts?”

Jagdanand Singh maintained that the opposition leader had done well to stay away from Patna and did not visit Muzaffarpur because the RJD did not want to obstruct steps being taken by the state government to control the epidemic.

“ Had the RJD adopted an aggressive approach to pin down the state government over AES deaths, the government would have blamed us for politicizing the issue. Now, it is clear how the Nitish Kumar government and central government have totally failed in controlling the disease , which has taken a big toll because children of poor families continue to be malnourished,” he said.

Yadav may attend the assembly from Monday and also take part in the RJD’s national executive meeting on July 6 in Patna, called to review the party’s poor performance in the Lok Sabha polls.

First Published: Jun 29, 2019 22:25 IST

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