Son-rise in Patna
THE WEEK|November 22, 2020
Tejashwi Yadav’s ascent heralds a major break in Bihar, as he plots a course away from the social justice politics practised by his father
PRATUL SHARMA

VIRENDER SEHWAG can be credited with unwittingly triggering a change in Bihar politics. In 2008, when the Indian Premier League was launched, the swashbuckling cricketer was named captain of the Delhi Daredevils team. There was a 19-year-old batsman in the team, eager for a chance. But Sehwag kept him on the bench. After waiting for four years, Tejashwi Yadav gave up and chose to follow his illustrious father, Lalu Prasad, into politics. On November 10, when the final of the 13th edition of the IPL was being played in Dubai, Tejashwi was leading the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s fightback in Patna. The RJD won 75 seats in the assembly elections, finishing as the single-largest party with an improved vote share.

As a politician, Tejashwi turned out to be a revelation during the 45-day election campaign. Undeterred by the Covid-19 pandemic, he toured Bihar extensively, meeting people and raising issues against the Nitish Kumar government. Early opinion polls had predicted a comfortable majority for the National Democratic Alliance. But Tejashwi did not give up. He managed to turn the tide on September 27 with a dramatic announcement that his first order as chief minister would be to give jobs to 10 lakh people. The promise caught on, drawing huge crowds of enthusiastic youth to his rallies.

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