The BJP on Monday dubbed Lalu Prasad's RJD as an "18th century, old model" party in which the younger generation, including his three children active in politics, had no future. The saffron party's fresh tirade came in the wake of speculations in a section of the media that the RJD founder, in Ranchi serving sentences in fodder scam cases for more than a year, is likely to run for his 11th consecutive term as the party's national president.
Filing of nomination papers for the party's national president's election is scheduled for Tuesday. While there has been no official word on the issue so far, RJD sources said the ailing septuagenarian leader's nomination papers were ready and will be submitted here by his representative. Prasad, who has been disqualified from taking part in electoral politics since his first conviction in a fodder scam case in 2013, was last elected to the RJD national president's post for a two-year term in November, 2017.
The wily leader had sought to make clear the line of succession by getting passed a unanimous resolution, before again landing behind bars, that his younger son Tejashwi Yadav shall be the RJD's Chief Ministerial candidate in the next Assembly polls in the state. This has, however, failed to prevent the eruption of a feud between the heir apparent and Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti and elder son Tej Pratap Yadav who are members of the Rajya Sabha and the state Assembly respectively.
In a statement dripping with sarcasm, BJP state spokesman Nikhil Anand said, "The RJD is an 18th century, old model political party in which the younger generation has no future. By a divine vision acquired in jail, like Sanjaya (a character in the Mahabharata, who is said to be a clairvoyant), Lalu ji has learnt that none of his party leaders, including Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti, have the capability to hold the national president's post".
Drawing a parallel with Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP another family-controlled party, which is the BJP's ally in Bihar, Anand remarked, "At least he has sent across the message that the future belongs to the young by making Chirag Paswan (son) the national president and Prince Raj (nephew) the state unit chief." "But the RJD has failed to seize the opportunity and it now appears certain that Lalu ji will continue to run the show from behind bars," the BJP spokesman said. "Thus, it is clear that Tejashwi Yadav has failed to keep his flock together and Prasad, fearing a revolt within the party and his family, which controls the organization, is left with no choice but to retain the top post," he claimed.
Founded in 1997, when Prasad split the erstwhile Janata Dal with the help of his loyalists, the RJD remained a formidable force in Bihar and ruled the state till 2005 the last five years in alliance with the Congress until its defeat at the hands of the coalition of the BJP and the Janata Dal (United) led by his arch-rival Nitish Kumar. The RJD's fortunes plummeted thereafter and it failed to muster enough numbers in the 2010 assembly polls to make a rightful claim as the main party in opposition. However, a short-lived alliance with the JD(U) helped the party make a dramatic comeback five years later when it emerged as the single largest party in the House. Severing of ties with Kumar coupled with Prasad's inability to maintain an active control on the party's affairs have hit the RJD hard. The party registered its worst-ever performance in the Lok Sabha polls this year when it failed to win a single seat. There was a semblance of recovery in by-polls held a couple of months ago when it wrested two assembly seats from the JD(U).