Lalu Prasad gets a hug from Nitish Kumar at son Tej Pratap’s wedding, but many VIPs missing
The hype and hoopla surrounding the guest list for the wedding of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad’s elder son, Tej Pratap Yadav, seemed to have fizzled out by late Saturday afternoon, as many political heavyweights gave it a miss.
However, the highlight of the wedding was Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s warm embrace with Lalu Prasad after almost nine months after the breakup of the grand alliance in Bihar . Nitish spent around 30 minutes at the wedding venue, the Veterinary College ground in Patna, and posed for photos with Tej Pratap and his bride Aishwariya Rai, the daughter of RJD leader Chandrika Rai. Lok Janashakti Party chief, Ram Vilas Paswan, another friend turned foe of Prasad, also attended the wedding.
Among the notable absentees were Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. Congress MP Digvijay Singh and former MP Sanjay Nirupam arrived by evening.
Mamata Banerjee, who has been leading talks with regional parties to try and cobble up a third front to defeat the BJP, sent her urban development minister, Firhad Hakim aka Bobby Hakim.
The guest list has been a matter of intense speculation. However, only two chartered planes had landed in Patna by late Saturday afternoon.
The first of the two chartered flights to arrive in Patna for Tej Pratap’s wedding was of industrialist and media baron Subhash Chandra, who is the chairman of Essel group and a Rajya Sabha MP. Chandra reached the city from Mumbai around noon, visited the family, and left in a couple of hours.
Former chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, Akhilesh Yadav, his wife Dimple and their three children, arrived by another chartered flight, only to leave early before the baraat (marriage procession) assembled.
Prasad’s youngest daughter Raj Lakshmi is married to Mainpuri (in Uttar Pradesh) MP Tej Pratap Singh Yadav, who is Akhilesh’s nephew. This makes Akhilesh a family member of Lalu Prasad.
Nationalist Congress Party leader and former civil aviation minister Praful Patel was among the guests who arrived and left early by noon. Patel arrived on a GoAir flight and left with Subhash Chandra on his chartered plane.
Among the central ministers who turned up by 3 pm were Union power minister RK Singh, beside Paswan, the Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution.
Actor and BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha also reached Patna from Mumbai in the afternoon. Of late, Sinha has shown growing proximity with Prasad. He had called on Prasad at a Ranchi hospital on March 24 during the latter’s incarceration after Prasad was convicted in multiple fodder scam cases. Prasad is on parole for his son’s wedding.
Former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and former Jharkhand chief minister and Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha leader Hemant Soren also arrived in Patna late in the afternoon.