In much embarrassment to the party, a furious Tej Pratap on Thursday addressed a press conference where he said he felt insulted by the remarks of the party president.
The Rashtriya Janata Dal is hopeful of resolving the simmering tension between Lalu Yadav’s son Tej Pratap Yadav and state president Jagdanand Singh, an issue that has also brought to fore the internal differences between the two brothers in the family. The party leadership, sources say, maintains that there are misunderstandings on Tej Pratap’s side and the issue will be resolved soon. Notably, party president Jagdanand Singh is said to have the backing of Tejashwi Yadav, who is the Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly. It was at his insistence that Singh rejoined his duties after staying away for months from party affairs after Tej Pratap’s remark, accusing the party president of “functioning like Hitler”.
The latest flashpoint came after Akash Yadav, a close aide of Tej Pratap, was replaced as the president of the students’ wing soon after Jagdanand resumed office. This left Tej Pratap, the patron of RJD’s student wing, fuming as he had also been promoting Akash as the president of the wing. A war of words ensued – Singh taunted the younger Lalu scion with ‘Who is Tej Pratap. I only know Lalu Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav’ and Tej Pratap demanding action against the RJD president in a very public outburst.
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The RJD leadership, however, is firmly behind the party President’s order. Responding to Tej Pratap’s accusation that Singh’s decision to replace the students wing president violated the party constitution, RJD general secretary Chitranjan Gagan told Financialexpress.com that there was no merit to the charge and the actions of Jagadanand Singh were in accordance with the party constitution.
“Jagdanand ji is the party president and is taking decisions according to the party’s constitution. I was in the committee which prepared the constitution of the party. The power to appoint the RJD Student Wing’s president rests with the party’s State president and even Tejashwi ji cannot make this appointment. He (Tejashwi Yadav) can recommend names but cannot make appointments.”
Setting aside Tej Pratap’s demand for action against Singh, Gagan says action can only be taken against a wrongdoing. “Jagdanand ji is performing his duty as party president as per the constitution.”
In much embarrassment to the party, a furious Tej Pratap on Thursday addressed a press conference where he said he felt insulted by the remarks of the party president. Tej Pratap claimed that he was not consulted about the decision of appointing a new president of the student’s wing. “If they do not bother to ask me and consult me, you can well imagine the plight of an ordinary party worker. Imagine the insult he would be out through,” Tej Pratap said.
The party leadership, however, believe otherwise. “There is no need to ask Tej Pratap about it. He was showing the party’s constitution yesterday. Had he read the provisions in detail, he would have known that the state president has the power to appoint heads of party’s subsidiary organisations and cells,” Gagan said.
Party insiders privy to the developments believe that Tejashwi has the blessings of Lalu as he sets about the task of setting his house in order. The party is firmly behind Lalu who is now back in action after his release from prison. There is a view within the party that Tejashwi has caused enough embarrassment to the party on many occasions, be it through his remarks and actions. Officially though, the party maintains that the issue can be resolved amicably.
“Somewhere there is a misunderstanding on part of Tej Pratap and he will understand things if explained to him. He will be taken into confidence. The opposition parties are making a mountain out of a mole hill,” Gagan says, adding that Jagdanand is free to take decisions and he is not a person who goes beyond his jurisdiction.
So, is the party considering disciplinary action against Tej Pratap? The RJD spokesperson says Tej Pratap has so far not made any such remarks which are against the party. “The RJD has a democratic system. It’s not always possible that everyone agrees with the party president’s decision all the time. There may be resentment but so far there is no need for disciplinary action. It’s up to the party leadership to decide (about action against Tej Pratap). It’s not a big issue and Tej Pratap is a very mature leader. There is a misunderstanding and it will be resolved soon,” he said.