“Aapko nikalna hoga, is tarah se kaam nahin chalega. Maar khayiye aap, hum chahenge Tejashwi lathi khaein, hum chahenge Tejashwi jail jaein. Phir dekhiye kaise nahin chunaav jitaate hain hum (You will have to come out [of your shell]. This [disinterested] approach won’t work. I would like Tejashwi to endure beatings, go to jail. Then, you will see, we will make you win elections).”
A huge applause rents the air as RJD vice-president Shivanand Tiwari offers such eyebrow-raising advice at the foundation day event of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in Patna on July 5. While party seniors, including Rabri Devi, looked on impassively, the irony of Tejashwi Yadav, RJD founder Lalu Yadav’s chosen political heir, being absent was not lost on the gathering.
Whether or not his words rang a bell with the RJD first family, Tiwari, a former Rajya Sabha member and contemporary of Lalu, continued to dwell on his mantra for the party’s survival—and potential revival: reach out and spend time with the electorate. He even questioned the RJD’s plank of ‘social justice and secularism’, saying: “Gaadi aage nahin badh rahi hai (Things aren’t moving).”
Questions about the RJD’s future have already been raised by other RJD bigwigs. Party vice-president Raghuvansh Prasad Singh feels the ‘backward [caste]-forward [caste]’ politics has lost relevance. Another senior suggests the party look beyo