Patna: When Lalu Prasad joined Twitter last month, he batted down the snide remarks of political rivals by tweeting that "youth power cannot be ignored." The Bihar leader's social media experience is being powered by 25-year-old Tejaswi Yadav, son and heir apparent.
On Sunday, Tejaswi hosted a tea party for 50 of his Facebook friends after putting up an open invite on his Facebook page for the event.
Between rounds of tea, coffee and snacks, Tejaswi and his Facebook friends talked about Bihar's backwardness, Lalu Yadav's corruption cases and the Lok Sabha elections due by May.
"People say Lalu Yadav ruled Bihar for 15 years and actually ruined it. But you tell me, at that time, what was the need of the hour? Social justice? Did he not do it," the young politician asked, to a round of applause.
Mr Yadav was recently convicted in a fodder scam case and is out on bail. He has been stripped of his Lok Sabha membership and is barred from contesting this year's Lok Sabha elections. But he has renewed his alliance with the Congress to stitch together a four-party combination that is being seen as a formidable challenge to Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal (United) in the state.
As a leader of Lalu's Rashtriya Janata Dal or RJD, Tejaswi is increasingly becoming the young face of the party and in putting in place processes that would his father would have disapproved of just a few years ago.
In the early 2000s Lalu Prasad had famously said that he had no idea about IT or information technology. It was a boast. Now Lalu acknowledges, as he did in his first ever tweet, "Only change is constant."
His official Twitter handle is updated daily by Tejaswi who says, "Lalu ji now has a twitter account. We have a Facebook page. Social media is a very good platform. We are trying to increase the use of IT in our party."
Arch rival Nitish Kumar had clambered on to the social media bandwagon much earlier with a blog post in 2010. He posted a few others and then gave up, saying he had no time and that conventional campaigns worked better. Lalu Yadav and his son for now believe that what did not work for Nitish, will work for them.