Tej Pratap Yadav plays emotional card, says ‘I miss you, papa’

After showing his belligerent side all throughout this general election season, only to patch up with younger brother Tejashwi Prasad Yadav a few days ago, Mahua MLA Tej Pratap Yadav has once again upped the ante against his party and the partners in the opposition Grand Alliance, asserting that he was “not allowed to speak” since his father, RJD chief Lalu Yadav, was not by his side.

On Friday, Tej Pratap tweeted an emotional message that read: “Mere adaraniya pita ke anupasthiti ke wajah se mujhe aaj bolne nahi diya gaya (I was not allowed to speak today because of the absence of my respected father)”. This line was followed by the hashtag #IMissYouPapa, and the whole post was topped by an illustration of Lalu Prasad leading a humble Tej Pratap by the hand.

The post, with strong political overtones, suggested that Tej Pratap tried to make a point about getting a raw deal in the party, and the family as well, in the absence of his father. Lalu Prasad is serving a sentence in fodder scam cases and undergoing treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi.

Tej Pratap’s fresh bid to vent his frustration could be attributed to not being given a chance to speak at Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s rally at Bikram, in the Pataliputra parliamentary constituency, on Thursday. His brother Tejashwi shared the dais with prominent Grand Alliance leaders.

After the rally, Tej Pratap went hammer and tongs at the Congress, accusing a section of the party leaders of not giving him a chance to speak out, despite having Rahul’s approval. He said that such arrogant behaviour of the Congress towards its allies was the reason why the party had witnessed a decline, asserting that it was the RJD chief who had kept the grand old party relevant in Bihar politics.

The family feud had shown signs of subsiding when Tej Pratap had posted messages on Twitter, praising his mother and younger brother Tejashwi. Tej Pratap and Tejashwi campaigned jointly last Sunday in Ara and Nalanda.

Insiders feel that Tej Pratap’s flip-flops to embarrass his party and family, ever since he filed for divorce from his wife Aishwariya Rai in November 2018, were attempts to neutralise Tejashwi’s positioning as the heir apparent to Lalu Prasad. Many feel that Tejashwi’s stature in RJD and GA might rise after May 23, if the opposition combine does well in the election, given the fact the 29-year-old Tejashwi has almost single-handedly steered the election campaign this time in the absence of Lalu.

“After this summer election, the party is likely to go for a build-up to the 2020 assembly polls, which would be a crucial election for Tejashwi, as he is the party’s chief ministerial face. Tej Pratap knows this well, and is apprehensive of getting totally sidelined in the party in the campaign for assembly polls. This, perhaps, is why he is throwing tantrums to stay relevant,” pointed out a senior RJD leader, wishing not to be named.

Party leaders also claimed that Tej Pratap was emulating his father’s mannerisms, especially the RJD chief’s inimitable oratory skills, to project himself as real heir apparent.

Moreover, party sources said that Tej’s rebellious posturing during the general elections had not helped him gain political ground — his attempt to field his own nominees against RJD’s official candidates at Sheohar and Jehanabad found no traction — and so he was trying a different strategy. “He is now playing the emotional card of missing his father,” said another party leader.

First Published:
May 18, 2019 11:39 IST

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