The wave of Dynasty Politics reaches Bihar

By Nimesh Bansal

At its national council meet, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) elected Lalu Prasad Yadav as the party’s national President for a record tenth consecutive term. Further, Lalu’s son Tejashwi Yadav was unanimously nominated as the Chief Ministerial (CM) candidate for the next elections, exemplifying dynasty politics that have now reached Bihar.

The Yadav trident bashes the BJP

Upon conclusion of the official business, the national council meeting morphed into a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-bashing session. The newly-elected RJD chief, the all-new Chief Ministerial candidate, and former CM, Rabri Devi, all took shots at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar. Accusing Modi of being a cheat, Lalu said, “Where is Acche din (good days) as you (Prime Minister Modi) and Amit Shah had promised during the last Lok Sabha poll. You’ve cheated youth, the poor and farmers by promising to deposit Rs 15 lakh each in their accounts after bringing back black money.” Taking a cue from his father, Tejashwi Yadav labelled Nitish Kumar as “Cheat Minister” saying, “Nitish Kumar is not the Chief Minister but Cheat Minister. He has betrayed the mandate of the people of Bihar. Nitish calls me a baccha (child) but I would like to tell him that I have the blood of my father Lalu in me and I will continue to fight for the poor and downtrodden, come what may.” 

Rabri Devi too went on to slam the central and state governments for “using official machinery to implicate her family”. She has been issued numerous summons to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in Delhi for interrogation in cases related to alleged Benami properties of the Yadav family. Rabri said, “I am well aware of the character of the CBI, ED and income tax and I will not be scared by their notices. Let them send any number of notices they want to. If they wish to question me, they will have to come to Patna for it.”

RJD: Congress part two

The Yadav trident, however, has not just stirred the ruling BJP, but also their own party. RJD’s national Vice President Raghuvansh Prasad Singh has dissented over Tejashwi’s rapid ascent. The sentiment is echoed by senior party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui who missed the meeting. RJD’s dynasty politics have been compared to that of its ally, the Indian National Congress (INC). Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi captured the sentiments perfectly, “Lalu formed the RJD in 1997. Since then, he has become the party’s national President for 10 consecutive terms. After him, the post will be held by his wife or his son. Same is the case with the Congress where Sonia Gandhi had been the national President for 19 years and now decks have been cleared for her son Rahul.” To score some points for his party, he added that the BJP is the only democratic party in the country where even a tea seller can become the Prime Minister.

Dynastic succession of the future

While it is a matter of speculation as to who will be RJD’s first non-Lalu chief, Sushil Modi’s comments are not excessively off the mark. In an attempt to ally with the Congress, the RJD may have taken it a bit too far with their version of dynasty politics. The RJD has followed in their footsteps for a while, but it behoves them to pay heed to the Congress’s catastrophic fall from grace. As the latest Gandhi politician attempts to revive the Grand Old Party of India, perhaps the Yadavs of the RJD should look to avoid such a fate altogether.

Featured Image Credits: ramesh_lalwani on / CC BY