Calling himself youth 'saathi', Lalu son now in active politics, takes on 'chacha' Nitish
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He likes to be called "saathi" and targets "chacha Nitish". He scoffs at allegations of dynastic politics, and hails "youth power". He talks development and promises "change". If the words are familiar, so may be the face: meet Tejaswi Prasad Yadav, the cricketer son of Lalu Prasad, the latest politician offspring to enter "active politics".
Friday marked the start of Tejaswi's Bihar Yatra from Samastipur, where he urged people to forget Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and give a chance to "baap and beta (Lalu and him)" to turn the state around.
"Chacha Nitish Kumar khali futuristic baat karte hain. Ye karenge, wo karenge. Akhbaron me khali shilanyas ka photo chapta hai. Ab chacha ko bhuliye and hamen mauka dijiye. Jaise pitaji ne Railway chamka diya tha, baap beta milkar Bihar chamka denge (Uncle Nitish only talks about the future. 'We'll do this, we'll do that'. Newspapers only carry pictures of foundation stones. Now forget the uncle and give a chance to us. Like my father left the Railways shining, the father-son duo will do the same for Bihar)," Tejaswi told a cheering Samastipur audience in a packed hall, most of them youths.
If 60 per cent youths vouch for change in Bihar, it is bound to take place, he added. He also promised 50 per cent participation of youths in the RJD, while taking experienced party leaders along.
While Tejaswi had tested political waters during the 2010 Assembly election campaign, Lalu — who has smelt blood because of the growing BJP-JD(U) rift — has now entrusted his youngest son with mobilising the youth force. Tejaswi will be travelling to as many districts as possible and holding youth sammelans (meetings) as a build-up for the RJD's planned May 15 Maharaila at Patna's Gandhi Maidan.
Tejaswi, who likes to be addressed as "saathi (friend)" rather than "yuvraj or yuva samrat" by party workers and holds no RJD post yet, launched the yatra from Karpoori Gram in Samastipur, the birthplace of former chief minister and socialist leader Karpoori Thakur. He garlanded Thakur's statue and met his immediate family members as well as visited a college named after the leader.