PATNA: Lalu Prasad’s mercurial elder son Tej Pratap Yadav, known for his frequent run-ins with senior leaders of the RJD, on Saturday chose to unleash his fury on state president and old loyalist Jagadanand Singh.
Journalists made a scramble for the party’s Bir Chand Patel Marg office upon learning that the maverick RJD MLA has made an unscheduled visit to the premises, accompanied by a band of cheerleaders and boiling with rage.
Yadav led the scribes to the chamber of Singh, who was not present, and screamed “I am told party workers seeking an audience with him are told to obtain prior appointment. Is this how a democratic party functions?”
He also raked up the issue of his fathers ill-health and blamed “people like Jagadanand” who has remained by Prasads side in thick and thin – for the “poor shape in which Lalu Prasad and his party are today”.
Yadav, who has launched a drive to press the demand for his jailed father’s release, as part of which postcards addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind were being dispatched after being signed by RJD workers, also fumed that Singh was yet to be a signatory.
After giving vent to his rage for some time, Yadav, who sported his trademark sacred marks on the forehead but, incongruently, donned western style jacket and trousers, stormed out of the party office.
Before taking his seat inside his car, he blurted with characteristic immodesty, “I am the partys mananiya (honourable) MLA from Hassanpur seat. And the state president has not even deigned to come and receive me”.
Replying to a query, Yadav said, he never had such an experience with Singh’s predecessor Ram Chandra Purve.
However, Purve, who was replaced by Singh less than two years ago, used to be similarly in the crosshairs of the maverick leader.
Both Purve and Singh have been known to be closer to Prasads younger son Tejashwi Yadav who has outshined his elder brother in political standing and come to be recognised as the de facto leader of the party as well as the five-party Grand Alliance helmed by the RJD.
The elder ones latest outbursts are understood to have been a result of complaints by some of his own “loyalists” that they were not being given due importance.
Later, Singh, who is senior to Tej Pratap Yadavs father by a few years, had a tough time averting prying questions from journalists.
“There is no problem. I will talk to him (Tej Pratap Yadav)” was all that the visibly shaken former Buxar MP could mumble.
The RJDs decades old ally Congress chose to stay mum over the embarrassing episode and sought to deflect queries on the same.
“It is an internal matter of the RJD. The partys leadership is capable of handling any situation. If anybody has a cause for worry in Bihar politics, it is the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine which seems poised to come apart on account of internal contradictions”, said Congress MLC and AICC media panelist Prem Chandra Mishra.
Nonetheless, JD(U) MLC and spokesman Neeraj Kumar came out with a stinging criticism.
“I wish to ask Jagadanand Singh why has he been prostrating (dandvat). You cannot expect respect for your age and experience in a party which has become the fiefdom of a political family”, Kumar said.