The Yadav brothers of the RJD, Tej Pratap and Tejashwi, put up a united front on Monday amid talks of a rift opening up between them.
On the occasion of their father and former Bihar CM Lalu Prasad's 70th birthday, the pair celebrated with their party's leaders. Their mother Rabri Devi, also a former Bihar CM, fed both brothers cake.
Even as Lalu Prasad, who is out on bail on medical grounds after multiple convictions in Fodder scam cases, wasn't present for the celebrations, Lalu's family and party made a spectacle of the matter and used it to convey that things were well in the RJD.
After the cake-cutting both brothers addressed the media. Tejashwi said that the the party and the family were celebrating Lalu Prasad's birthday as a day of social justice. Tejashwi spoke about the blood-donation camp that had been organised the previous day and added that he hoped that his father would be able to recover from his ailments quickly and also be granted relief by the higher courts over his convictions.
Tejashwi said they were worried about an operation Lalu Prasad is to undergo. He also spoke about NDA-constituent leader Upendra Kushwaha and the question of whether he wants to leave the coalition, attributing the rumours (which Kushwaha has denied) to an ideological clash with the RSS and BJP.
Shortly after, addressing the alleged rift directly, Tej Pratap said that such things happen within a party, and claimed that even bigger rifts were brewing within the BJP and that a number of leaders were in touch with him.
Over the weekend, tension had appeared to brew between the brothers as Tej Pratap, the elder of the pair, put out a tweet where he alluded to the epic 'Mahabharata' and said he would give away his seat to Tejashwi. However, he added that some people would have a problem with him being called a kingmaker as a result.
His tweet roughly translates to: “I feel, that I should give Arjun (Tejashwi) the seat of Hastinapur and should go away myself. But, a few tattlers have problem with me being called as Kingmaker as the consequence.”
When Tej Pratap was confronted over his tweet, he said it was directed towards a few anti-social elements in the party who want to create a rift between the brothers.
“I just have one issue, the anti-social elements in the party are trying to create a rift between me and my brother. I just have problem with that. They should be identified and ousted from the party,” he said.
Tej Pratap also said that he is not greedy of a position, so he can give away reins to Tejashwi but he will not let the anti-social elements to divide his family.
“I, like Krishna, would give the seat to Arjuna (Tejashwi) and go away. But, those who are trying to cause a divide between me, my brother, Lalu ji and my family, will not succeed,” said Tej Pratap.
Tejashwi on Sunday denied that there was a rift. He said, while addressing media:
"It is very evident Tej Pratap ji spoke on strength of the party. He spoke about how to unify and strengthen our party, ahead of 2019 (general election) and 2020 (Bihar assembly election). Unhone spasht kaha hai Tejashwi kaleje ka tukda hai. He is my brother and guide," Tejashwi said.
Tejaswhi further urged people to not spread rumors and concentrate on the real issues affecting Bihar.
"All are working to strengthen the party. We shouldn't make mountain out of a molehill. We must focus on discrepancies in education, how students were given 38 out of 35 marks, how 44 young girls were raped. If you ignore this, Bihar isn't going to benefit at all," Tejashwi said. Tej Pratap, for his part, also denied that there was a rift.