Tejashwi Yadav: Failed Cricketer, Eligible Bachelor & Lalu’s Heir
When Tejashwi Yadav – Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister – shared a WhatsApp number for people to send photos of potholes, so that they can be repaired, what he got was a whopping 44,000 marriage proposals. In a lighter vein, he said, “Thank God I am single, otherwise such messages would have landed me in deep trouble.”
From a damp stint in cricket to a rapid rise in politics, the life trajectory of Tejashwi – the youngest of Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi’s nine children – has been an interesting one. In 2015, he was appointed the Deputy CM under the Mahagathbandhan of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), the Nitish Kumar-led Janata Dal (United) and the Congress, right after he won his maiden assembly elections.
However, less than two years in power, the 27-year-old RJD leader finds himself in a tough spot, facing allegations of corruption and calls for resignation from his post. The CBI registered an FIR against him in connection with a “land for hotels” case. The accusation is that the Yadav family accepted land in Patna in exchange for tenders to businessmen for the maintenance of railway hotels when Lalu was India’s Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009. Tejashwi is one of the owners of the land.
While Tejashwi’s rise to power may have been a smooth journey, thanks to his father, it seems like he has not been spared of the corruption ‘ghost’ that has haunted Lalu for years.
Snowballing into the limelight only after the 2015 Bihar assembly elections, not much is known about the young leader. Here’s a brief sketch of the man considered to be Lalu’s heir apparent.
A Stint With Delhi Daredevils
Yadav Junior’s interest in cricket was high right from his school days. But on the academic front, Tejashwi – who studied at the prestigious Delhi Public School, RK Puram – could not clear Class X.
Of his batting abilities at the age of 10, Surjeet Singh, his sports teacher, told Business Standard:
The poor bowlers did not have an answer. I remember how ball after ball kept crashing into the line of red-brick buildings that surrounded the ground. I was astounded.
Even so, Tejashwi couldn’t make his name as a big-ticket player in the game.
The highlights of Yadav Junior’s cricketing stint include a Ranji match in 2009 in which he represented Jharkhand. Later, he was part of the Delhi Daredevils franchise in the Indian Premier League from 2008 to 2012.
The Ranji match against Vidarbha was a forgettable one. Tejashwi scored a measly 1 and 19 and could not take a single wicket. As far as his stint with the Delhi Daredevils was concerned, he ended up spending all his four seasons off the pitch.
MP Singh, who coached Tejashwi in the game when he was just 11, called him a “down-to-earth” and “well-behaved student of the game”. In November 2015, Singh told DNA:
Though he is the son of a high-profile politician like Lalu Prasad Yadav, I never got a complaint against him during all those years that he was training here
The Political Plunge
The year 2010 marked Tejashwi's entry into politics. It began with him campaigning for the RJD during the assembly elections. But the final political plunge came when the subsequent elections were held in 2015. The stakes were even higher this time with the BJP posing as a potent threat. But Tejashwi, as a politician, had also matured – playing a vital role in the party when Lalu was in jail, becoming – as this Business Standard article says – “indispensable to his father”, and also apparently helping forge the Mahagathbandhan.
Contesting from the Raghopur constituency, Tejashwi dealt a blow to the BJP’s Satish Kumar – the same leader who had defeated his mother Rabri Devi back in 2010.
And instead of his elder brother Tej Pratap, who became an MLA from Mahua constituency, it was Tejashwi who was given the charge of being the second-in-command of the state.
The Social Media-Savvy Bachelor
Still in his formative years as a politician, Tejashwi has been hailed as a social media man – one who uses these platforms to establish a connect with the people and to improve work efficiency. While his WhatsApp initiative to fix potholes might have led to an unintended outcome, he has nevertheless helped his party keep up with the needs of an internet-dependent age.
Lalu’s active social media presence today (his 2,600+ tweets are an indication of that) may just have been a Tejashwi-effect.
Still a bachelor, the young leader prefers to have an ‘arranged marriage’.
But his mother Rabri Devi seems to have been very demanding in this regard, apparently wanting a girl who doesn’t spend time at shopping malls or movie theatres (though she played down her statement later, saying it was not meant literally).
While Tejashwi’s popularity may have risen steadily, and he may be integral to his father and his party, today his image stands tarnished. He may have given a witty response to the corruption allegations against him, rhetorically asking how could he be involved in any wrongdoing at a time when he didn’t even have a “mooch” (the corruption case dates back to 2004 when he was just 15). But the young leader has to do more to placate Nitish, who has responded to the CBI action against the Yadavs by stressing on “zero tolerance against corruption”.
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