Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Tejashwi Yadav may be going through a rough patch after his party drew a blank in the Lok Sabha elections, but his family continues to stand by him. And that includes his mercurial sibling, Tej Pratap, who had recently launched a parallel outfit to protest being sidelined in the party.
"Those who don't like Tejashwi's leadership can leave. Be it the mahagathbandhan or the RJD, I will always stand by Tejashwi," he said on Tuesday, hours after a party legislator rose up in revolt yesterday. The reason for the discord was the RJD's seat count dropping from four to zero in an electoral contest that dealt severe blows to nearly all opposition parties. The BJP-led NDA, on the other hand, bagged 39 of the 40 seats in the state.
"Tejashwi Yadav should take moral responsibility and resign as the leader of opposition," Maheshwar Yadav, the legislator from Muzaffarpur's Gaighat assembly seat, demanded. He also targeted imprisoned RJD chief Lalu Yadav, saying that he had turned the party into his "personal fiefdom".
Addressing reporters on Tuesday, Tej Pratap spoke on the need to put their losses behind and focus on a proactive strategy for the future. "I have written to my dear brother, telling him that victory and defeat are part and parcel of life. But running away is not the solution; we should now stop blaming each other for the defeat and start thinking about how we can drag the enemy out of our homes," news agency ANI quoted him as saying.
"The BJP-led NDA has fooled the people of India. Tejashwi and I will go to them and explain how they are being manipulated," he said, adding that he does not hold his brother's leadership responsible for the loss.
Tej Pratap, however, has not always been this supportive of Tejashwi Yadav. Miffed over not being given due importance in the party, the maverick politician had announced the formation of a parallel outfit named after his parents -- the Lalu Rabri Morcha -- ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. He also threatened to fight the RJD candidate in Saran as an independent if certain demands put up by him were not fulfilled.
Tej Pratap has often described himself as Krishna the charioteer to Tejashwi Yadav's Arjuna in the battle against the BJP-led NDA, but he changed his tune after the party leadership refused to accommodate his demand for party tickets to five party members last month. Back then, he obliquely likened his younger brother to Duryodhana, the primary antagonist in the Mahabharata, who failed to accommodate the Pandavas' demand for five villages to avert an imminent war.
Tej Pratap also tweeted in support of Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, asking him to not step down from the post of Congress chief. "I would like to make an appeal to Congress president Rahul Gandhi. He should remain in his position and tackle the oncoming challenges head-first. The country needs young leaders like you," he said.
(With inputs from Agencies)
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