The Hindu Explains: From Tejaswi Yadav to 'Not In My Name'

Who is Tejaswi Yadav?

When Chief Minister Nitish Kumar of the JD(U) pledged his support to NDA presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, former Bihar Governor, most senior leaders in the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), which has a grand alliance with the JD(U), protested, but not Tejaswi Yadav.

The former Chief Minister Lalu Prasad’s son and Deputy Chief Minister quickly intervened to stop any possible rift — the RJD is backing the UPA candidate Meira Kumar.

There is “Himalayan unity” among grand alliance partners in Bihar, he said, adding, “The decision will have no impact on it.” In the RJD, Mr. Tejaswi is the one who regularly takes on Opposition leaders and sometimes ruling alliance partners too.

Why is he important?

Born on November 9, 1989, a year before his father became Chief Minister, Mr. Tejaswi is the younger son of Rabri Devi and Lalu Prasad — both were Chief Ministers from 1990 to 2005.

He started his career as a cricketer but later inherited politics from his family and in 2015 became a first-time MLA from Raghopur in Vaishali district. Days later, he took the oath as Deputy Chief Minister when he was only 26.

Among all his siblings, Mr. Tejaswi is regarded as the heir apparent to Lalu Prasad. His elder brother Tej Pratap Yadav is Health Minister and among his seven sisters, the older Misa Bharti is a Rajya Sabha member.

What is his politics?

Tejaswi Yadav has led the RJD into new-age politics, where social media plays an important role in putting the party’s thoughts across. Earlier, his father Lalu Prasad was oft-quoted as saying yeh IT-YT kya hota hai? (what’s this IT-YT?) but today even Mr. Lalu Prasad tweets every day. It all happened with the political initiation of Mr. Tejaswi, who then pushed hard for the party’s makeover with the right mix of young and experienced. Today, he holds complete command over his party and takes major decisions in consultation with his father.

For his sheer political understanding and ability to take everyone along, Mr. Tejaswi is seen as the chief minister-in-waiting.

What is his report card?

As the Deputy Chief Minister, he shares the stage with Mr. Nitish Kumar at every government function or meeting. Like Mr. Nitish Kumar, he too does his homework well before attending these functions or meetings. He is articulate and known for getting things done. For instance, for repairing roads — many of Bihar’s roads are in a terrible state — he introduced a simple way of getting the work done by announcing a WhatsApp number (9470001346). “People can now directly WhatsApp the condition of roads to bring more quality and efficiency,” he said. He uses social media to be in touch with his department officials and people as well.

Does Bihar take him seriously?

On the WhatsApp number he announced, instead of the condition of the roads, Mr. Tejaswi got 44,000 marriage proposals.

“Thank God, I’m still single,” he quipped, “otherwise such messages would have landed me in deep trouble.” His mother, though, recently caused him great embarrassment when she said she needed girls who do not go to shopping malls or cinema halls as marriage prospects for her sons. However, later, she explained she did not mean it literally.

Mr. Tejaswi has stayed away from controversy and brushed off the recent expose on dubious land deals and allegations by BJP leader Sushil Modi that all of his assets were not mentioned in his election affidavit. “Everything is public... let the probe begin and we’ll answer the investigating agencies,” he said.

How was his cricket innings?

As a student of the Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, Delhi, Mr. Tejaswi took a keen interest in cricket and became captain of the school team.

Though he couldn’t pass his Class X Board exam, he was included in the Delhi Daredevils IPL team in 2008 and remained with them for five consecutive sessions. But luck proved elusive and he did not get a chance to play.

Later, he was included in the Jharkhand Ranji team, and there too he failed to make a mark and could never be selected. That was the end of his cricketing career. Politics came naturally to him and Bihar watchers say he is scoring exceptionally well on its bumpy pitch.

 

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Printable version | Jan 11, 2021 4:22:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/who-is-tejaswi-yadav/article19194267.ece

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