Although Bihar politician Lalu Yadav’s homecoming after three years was capped by his elder son Tej Pratap Yadav washing his feet outside his home, the fetching moment came only after a day of dramatic walkouts and heated statements.
Tej Pratap, who has been decisively overtaken by brother Tejashwi in the race to be the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) founder’s political heir and found himself being reprimanded by his father on occasion, was seen outside his residence washing his father Lalu Yadav’s feet and then wiping it dry with a piece of cloth around his neck.
But the tension was not hidden from anyone. Lalu Yadav did not step out of the car and left soon after.
The RJD patriarch, known to be disappointed with his elder son for the lack of his political honing, did not even have plans to visit Tej Pratap’s home, it is learnt.
It was only after Tej Pratap launched a protest at his residence that Lalu Yadav agreed to drop by.
Earlier, at the Patna airport, the Yadav brothers who were said to be not on the best of terms per last reports had appeared to have patched up as they waited to receive their father.
On his arrival, Lalu Prasad drove straight to his wife and former Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi’s residence.
Soon after, Tej Pratap was seen leaving the house furiously, alleging that state RJD president Jagdanand Singh and other leaders humiliated him and stopped him from spending time with his father.
He had also been visibly upset over the conspicuous absence of his photograph on posters put up by the party to welcome his father.
“I have nothing to do with the RJD henceforth. I am, however, a devoted son,” the Hasanpur MLA was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
In visuals from outside his residence, Tej Pratap was first seen sweeping the spot near the gate as he and his supporters waited to welcome the RJD founder.
On Lalu Yadav’s arrival, Tej Pratap first tried to wash his feet with milk, but on being gestured by mother Rabri Devi to not to do so, he washed his father’s feet with water.
Speaking to journalists later, Tej Pratap said his father was God to him. He added that the forces that “framed” Lalu Yadav had been exposed now.
“My demand was that my father should come here, even if for two minutes, and I have won half the battle now. The family and the people matter to me. I don’t want to go into what anyone is saying,” he said.
In a veiled swipe at top RJD leaders he has had frequent run-ins with and who are among trusted lieutenants of current party chief Tejashwi, he said, “This is a big slap on the face of those who wanted to stop my father from coming here.”
Lalu Yadav, who has been granted bail in four fodder scam cases, was at daughter and MP Misa Bharti’s Delhi residence following his release from jail earlier this year.
He now returns to a political arena much different from when he left it. His return also coincides with the charged countdown to the October 30 by-polls to two Assembly seats.
Asked by journalists if he would campaign for his party and whether that would violate the conditions of his bail, the RJD leader said he was not granted bail for health reasons. “I got entitled to bail because I have spent half of my sentence behind bars. Nothing can now prevent me from campaigning,” he said, as per news agency PTI.