PATNA: RJD president Lalu Prasad’s maverick elder son Tej Pratap Yadav has caused a flutter with the claim that his father was being held captive and prevented from returning to Bihar despite having been released from jail.
Yadav, who is known for shooting from the hip, made the comment on Saturday when he said the captors of his father, who is convalescing in Delhi since release from Ranchi jail a few months ago, were “four or five people” he did not wish to name.
Yadav, who is in his late 70s and suffers from multiple ailments, had been awarded sentences by a special CBI court in fodder scam cases.
Since his release from jail on bail, he has been putting up at his Delhi residence, staying away from the daily humdrum of politics.
Nonetheless, he has addressed RJD workers over video conferences on a couple of occasions.
The BJP predictably latched on to Tej Pratap Yadav’s utterances, insisting that the elder sibling was hinting at Tejashwi, his younger brother and the heir apparent to Prasad.
Party spokesmen Nikhil Anand and Arvind Kumar Singh came out with statements asserting that political differences notwithstanding they had “immense respect” for Prasad and demanding that Tejashwi come clean on the issue.
Tejashwi, who incidentally returned from the national capital on Sunday morning, was mobbed by journalists seeking his take on yet another embarrassment thrown at him by his elder sibling.
The confident 32-year-old dismissed the contention with disdain asserting that “to say Lalu is bandhak (in captivity) simply does not go with his personality. He is a man who has served as the chief minister of Bihar and the country’s railway minister. He was the one who had got L K Advani arrested”.
Tejashwi’s comment was a reference to Yadav’s tenure as CM when he had famously got the BJP stalwart arrested at Samastipur, causing the Ayodhya Rath Yatra to stop.
Notably, both brothers had made their debut together in the 2015 assembly polls.
However, Tejashwi, known to be the favourite of his father, was installed as the deputy CM in the Nitish Kumar government while the elder brother had to be content with a cabinet berth.
After Kumar parted ways with the RJD, Tejashwi became the leader of the opposition while the elder sibling alternated between throwing tantrums and swearing full support to the younger brother whom he frequently likens to Mahabharata character Arjuna while calling himself Krishna, the warrior prince’s charioteer-cum-counsel.
The latest showdown came barely a month ago when, angered over the removal of a trusted aide from the post of the RJD students’ wing chief, Tej Pratap Yadav reacted by floating a parallel outfit.
He also lashed out at state RJD chief Jagadanand Singh, seen as Tejashwi’s man, referring to him as ‘Hitler’.
The mercurial leader’s outrage received thumbs down from the party supremo himself who lauded Singh for being a “disciplinarian” when he addressed RJD workers a few days later.
PTI NAC RMS RMS 10032001 NNNN