Blood is thicker than water. The adage has again proved to be correct in the last phase of the general election in Bihar, with Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad’s sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejashwi Yadav giving up their tug of war to work jointly for the victory of their eldest sister Misa Bharti.
Tej Pratap, the mercurial elder son of Lalu Prasad, had recently quit as patron of the party’s students’ wing and even campaigned against party nominees in a couple of seats when the names recommended by him were ignored.
He, however, remained unflinching in his loyalty towards Ms. Bharti, often campaigning in her favour with mother Rabri Devi. Sunday was the first occasion when he did so alongside Tejashwi Yadav.
Ms. Bharti is in the fray from Pataliputra, the Lok Sabha seat she had unsuccessfully contested in 2014. Lalu Prasad was defeated in Pataliputra in 2009 by friend-turned-rival Ranjan Prasad Yadav.
She is pitted against Union Minister and sitting MP Ram Kripal Yadav, a former loyalist of her father who joined the BJP ahead of the 2014 general election.
At a rally in the constituency on Sunday, the two brothers stood side by side, holding aloft a photograph of their father, who is serving jail term in fodder scam cases.
Tej Pratap Yadav also reaffirmed his “fondness” for his younger brother, saying he saw him as Arjuna, who he was helping as Lord Krishna.
The rift between Tej Pratap and his family first surfaced when he filed a divorce petition against his newly married wife and widened when his estranged father-in-law Chandrika Rai, a former Minister, was chosen to contest from Saran.
Both Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi had fought elections from Saran constituency in the past.
At Misa’s insistence
An RJD leader said on condition of anonymity that the two brothers came together at the insistence of Ms. Bharti, who made them sit together and explained that by fighting each other they will end up falling into the trap of the BJP-led NDA, which wants to “finish off the party”.