Tejashwi not facing 1996 like anti-Lalu sentiment

Patna,(BiharTimes): Though the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are calling for the resignation of deputy chief minister Tejashwi Prasad Yadav the truth is that there is no such strong antipathy against him among common masses as against his father when fodder scam was unearthed in 1996.

Not only the Bihar Congress has come out openly in favour of Tejashwi, there is even some strong voices within the JD(U) who are against the deputy CM’s resignation and see the whole exercise as a sinister ploy by the BJP to drive a wedge within the Grand Alliance.

That is why notwithstanding the day-long speculations by regional TV channels that chief minister Nitish Kumar may seek resignation of

deputy nothing of sort happened.

The JD(U) was not on comfortable wicket till end forcing the party to postpone its Press conference by half an hour. And in the Press conference the party spokesman, Neeraj Kumar, made no such demand for resignation.

The problem with the BJP is that it is finding little people’s support for its demand for the resignation of Tejashwi.

Analysts are of the view that there is no strong anti-Tejashwi sentiment sweeping the state as it was against Lalu Prasad after the unearthing of fodder scam in 1996. True the media is over-active and the central agenices, especially the CBI, busy in carrying out raids the people’s response has been indifferent.

In contrast it has evoked a sense of sympathy for the young politician who is not yet 28. It is not only the RJD leaders who are claiming that the alleged land deal involving Lalu Prasad was made when he was a minor even many other anti-RJD people are of the view that the saffron party is going overboard in its political battle.

In contrast in 1996 a sizeable section of people used to dislike Lalu Prasad, especially because of his stand towards Mandal. The social division within the society was very palpable. So when any opportunity came this section went all out against Lalu.

Besides, in six years of rule (1990-1996) Lalu had made many enemies, who all went against him. Many within his own party had problem with his style of functioning and left the party. Nitish Kumar, George Fernandes, Bashistha Narayan Singh, Syed Shahabuddin and others had left the party in the mid-1994 to form Samata Party on October 19 the same year.

Today, except for hardliners in BJP, there is generally no problem with Tejashwi, or even for that matter Misa Bharati. Most people are taking the allegations with a pinch of salt. Even if some has problem they have with elder brother Tej Pratap. Thus Tejashwi enjoys much more acceptance of middle-class.

Dynastic politics apart, many see in Tejashwi a future in politics. At least the image is that he is a polite youngman dedicated to work.

There is even murmuring within the BJP that by opening a new front against Tejashwi the saffron party has only helped RJD consolidate its position.

The BJP may succeed in cornering chief minister Nitish Kumar and may one day even succeed in getting Tejashwi’s resignation––or he may even had to go to jail––but in the long term the party may have to pay the political price.

The party’s effort to woo Yadavs has received a serious setback. Not only the Yadav legislators of RJD, but even of JD(U) see no reason in gunning for Tejashwi’s resignation.

Besides, in 1996 the BJP leaders were untested and would at least boast of having clean image. Now that people have seen them in power for eight years they find no big difference in them. 

The state party chief Nityanand Rai has the image of a strongman with questionable past. Only a few months back his own party leaders accused him of having criminal background.

A few months back one of its state vice president Lal Babu Prasad Gupta was thrashed in the Legislative Council by fellow legislator Neeraj Kumar Bablu, after the former is said to have allegedly sexually harassed latter’s MLC wife. This unsavoury incident within the saffron party tarnished its image.

Another BJP MLC Tunnaji Pandey was accused of sexually harassing a young girl in a train near Hajipur.

There is number of rags to riches stories within the BJP.   A senior party leader, who started his career as an owner of undergarment shop is a much richer person after eight years as minister in the Nitish cabinet. His son has a big show-room of car in Patna.

Thus unlike in 1996 it is kettle calling pot black like situation in Bihar. That is why the BJP is unable to make Tejashwi’s resignation a big public issue.


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