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The Hindu
The Hindu
Sobhana K. Nair

RJD gives Lalu Prasad and Tejashwi full powers on deciding party issues

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which is battling internal dissent with the party’s State unit chief Jagdanand Singh publicly sulking after his son Sudhakar Singh’s resignation and frequent outbursts by Cabinet Minister Tej Pratap Yadav, party’s national President Lalu Prasad Yadav, who was re-elected for the 12th time, issued a dire warning to party leaders against “speaking out of turn”. 

During the party’s national convention, held at Talkatora Stadium in Delhi on Monday, it also amended the party’s constitution in order to empower both Lalu Prasad Yadav and Deputy Chief Minister Tejashwi Yadav as the final arbitrator of all decisions regarding the party’s “name, symbol and other related issues”. The phrase “other related issues” opens the entire gamut of possibilities. 

Also Read | Lalu Prasad pitches for Opposition unity at RJD national meet

The amendment, which was adopted by a voice vote, further signals a significant change in the party’s power equation and also sets the tone for formally handing party’s reins to Tejashwi Yadav. In his speech, the party patriarch Lalu Prasad Yadav, on Sunday, at the party’s national executive meeting, had said that on all political issues, only Tejashwi Yadav’s voice will matter. He reiterated his stand today, in his public address. “If there is something you can advice, but do not speak out of turn,” Mr. Prasad said. 

Mr. Tejashwi, meanwhile, in his address advocated for unity within the party. “All I want to say is to stay united and don’t worry. But do remember, that we have to have the bigger picture, the bigger goal in mind. It would be foolish for the regional parties to fight among themselves,” he said. 

Shifting attention to dissent within the party, Mr. Yadav said that those who speak against the party, help the BJP. “There are only two possibilities today, either you are with the BJP or against them. You can’t work in both the camps,” he asserted. 

Again exhorting crowd to stay united, Mr. Yadav bellowed, “Are you ready for 2024 or not.” The euphoric crowd replied with resounding yes.

In his speech earlier, he had said that Delhi was deliberately picked as the venue for the national convention, to bring the battle to the current rulers of India.  

Both father and son also reiterated the urgent need for Opposition unity. Mr. Prasad warned the Opposition parties that the country will not forgive them if they decide to stay outside the anti-BJP front. Mr. Prasad also claimed that CBI and ED actions against him were an outcome of his efforts to unite Opposition parties. “When we talk of Opposition unity they send CBI and ED for ‘ Chappa, chappa’ [raid]. We will ‘ Chaap’ [flatten] them,” he said.  

Mr. Tejashwi also asked to set aside personal egos to join hands in fighting the BJP and said they have to decide if they are with the ruling party or against it, as he and his father Lalu Prasad launched a stinging attack on the Modi Government.

Both father and son also attacked BJP for disrupting social harmony and communalising the society. Mr. Tejashwi referred to BJP MP Parvesh Verma’s speech allegedly calling for the “boycott of Muslims” and said a huge number of Indians working abroad, many in Muslim countries, will be left unemployed if they face similar treatment.

“What kind of mindset is this? Somebody tell these BJP members that most of our oil comes from Muslim countries. Will you stop it,” he asked.

Mr. Verma had courted controversy on Sunday after he allegedly called for a total boycott of a community at an event held here to protest the killing of a Hindu youth in northeast Delhi. He has claimed that he did not name any community.

In the context of breaking the Yadav-centric image of the party, Mr. Yadav, told party workers to reach out to oppressed and depressed classes. He also asserted that RJD is a party of “A to Z”.

Both Mr. Prasad and Mr. Tejashwi also met Shyam Rajak, a senior RJD functionary who had been keeping unwell, after the Cabinet Minister Tej Pratap Yadav publicly accused Mr. Rajak of abusing him. 

Mr. Tejashwi also hit out at the BJP Government for the current economic situation. “In 75 years, a tea-seller has become the Prime Minister, but in the last eight years those with engineering and MBA degrees are forced to work at tea shops and fry pakoras,” he said. 

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