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Senior RJD leaders sulking in the absence of party president Lalu Prasad Yadav

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NEW DELHI: A section of senior RJD leaders are sulking in the absence of party president Lalu Prasad as there is nobody to address their grievances. The resignation of Prasad’s close aide, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, has highlighted the inner troubles of the party where senior leaders have been constantly ignored.

Prasad is serving time in Ranchi jail in the fodder scam case since December 2017. In his absence it is his son Tejashwi Yadav who is looking after the party affairs. Old party leaders are not comfortable with this generational shift and find themselves isolated, said people aware of the matter. On a few occasions, these leaders have gone to meet Prasad in jail. But regular meetings are no longer possible.

“When Lalu ji was here, he used to hear everyone and we would go to him with our problems. We would have our arguments with him but come out happy and satisfied,” a senior RJD leader told ET on condition of anonymity. “We can’t go to Tejashwi with these things until he comes to us, as he is very young.”

Senior leaders such as Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav, Shivanand Tiwari, Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Bhola Rai and Ramchandra Purve are feeling ignored in the new system. Their complaint is that they never get consulted by the young leadership of the party. This is a key reason for the resignation of a number of MLAs from the party, they said.

“Tejashwi never gave time to meet me and highlight the issues of Raghopur,” Bhola Rai, former state minister, told media persons when he resigned from the party on Wednesday. Rai had left his Raghopur seat for Prasad’s wife, Rabri Devi, in 2010.

Former Union minister Ali Ashraf Fatimi also blamed the new leadership when he left the party last year.

Some leaders have even been openly humiliated by Prasad’s elder son, Tej Pratap Yadav. On several occasions, Yadav had attacked former state RJD president Ramchandra Purve, making him uncomfortable.

Among the older generation, the man with Tejashwi is current state president Jagdanand Singh. Singh is considered to be a tough leader and the seniors hardly talk to him.

An important reason for the dissent of old leaders is no future prospects within the party. When Raghuvansh Prasad Singh lost the Lok Sabha election, it was expected that he would be sent to Rajya Sabha. But the party chose a new face, Amrendra Dhari Singh, for the same. A number of leaders who had ambitions to get into the upper house now know it well that it is difficult to get a seat from the party. Bhola Rai was expecting an MLC seat for himself which did not happen.

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