Crumbling Dynasties

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Starting with Jagannath Mishra’s son Nitish, to the long list of Lalu’s children, none of the young crop of Bihar politicians have it in them to deliver to the people

Kanhaiya Bhelari

Kanhaiya Bhelari

He was former Contributing Editor of Governance Now, worked with The Week, and also contributed to The Sunday Observer

“This boy would be a dynamic politician in days to come. Because he is very sincere and attentive towards his tasks, understands complicated things quickly and knows how to deal with the situation”. This is how Nitish Kumar, chief minister while talking to this writer, has described Nitish Mishra, son of former Bihar CM Dr Jagannath Mishra. The year was 2011 and Mishra had displayed his potential by discharging his duties as minister between 2005 and 2010.

Four years later, Nitish’s praise bounced back. Nitish Mishra as a minister in the Jeetan Ram Manjhi cabinet was spotted fleeing with hundreds of files with huge financial implications to the residence of his father just before the fall of Nitish.

Masters in Management from the UK, Nitish Mishra for the first time looked nervous and down chatting the media persons at that time. “He killed his bright career in politics,” remarked a journalist, a relative.

The inherited politician in him was alleged to have forced the cute boy to follow the path shown by his father, who was and is famous for all the wrong reasons. Dr Jagannath Mishra’s name was once linked with the infamous Urban Bank Scam in which he was alleged to have been instrumental in mortgaging historical Gandhi Maidan and Patna Railway Station. Even media reports, as well as political analysts say Dr Mishra’s rule was synonymous with corruption. It was he who first gave protection to the fodder scam. Dr Mishra is now out on bail.

Nitish Mishra served as an academician and social activist before getting into politics as a true follower of Nitish Kumar. He won the Jhanjharpur assembly seat in 2005 and 2010 as Janata Dal (U) and became the youngest minister. But Mishra severed ties with his mentor and sided with Jeetan Ram Manjhi during the war for the throne between the two political stalwarts in the beginning of 2015. Ultimately, Manjhi lost the battle in February 2015 and Mishra threw his political weight behind the loser. However, just before the 2015 assembly poll, he joined BJP, contested from his old seat and lost by a thin margin.

Faith Crisis

Forty-four-year-old Nitish Mishra might be a big politician in days to come. But he appears to have lost his faith in the hearts of thousands of his fans who once upon a time saw him as their icon. Said Nilabh Dubey, a student: “I heard his decent and meaningful speech during a function at Saint Michael School in 2008 and turned his hardcore supporter. But he disappointed me going with Jeetanram Manjhi.” Another ardent fan, who wanted to stay unidentified, alleged: “He stabbed Nitish Kumar who was shaping him to be a dynamic politician under his guidance. He sided with Manjhi not to become a seasoned politician but to follow the path of his father.” Abhishek Kumar, who deals with hardware items in Patna has a very harsh comment in store for him. He goes, “I had seen a Bhakta Prahalad in him who was born and brought up in the family of Kalyugi Hiranyakashipu. But I was wrong.”

Failed Dynastics

Mishra is not an isolated case for the fractured or tainted dynastic tradition in the politics of Bihar. It is an irony of the state that almost all close relatives of the leaders who have been trying their lucks in the politics, are arguably not up to the mark. Their activities and lifestyle make one realise that they are in politics not for Sewa (social service) but for Mewa (money).

To begin with, Dr Misa Bharti, daughter of Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) supremo, Lalu Prasad, is facing half a dozen corruption cases registered by Income Tax Department and Enforcement Directorate (ED). Lalu Prasad got her into politics due to fear of being exposed by her. She snatched the Lok Sabha ticket for Patalipura seat during the 2014 general elections from the jaws of Ram Kripal Yadav of her own party, compelling the latter to fall into BJPs’ lap.

A family insider revealed, “The ticket for Ram Kripal Yadav had almost been finalised. But Lalu Prasad succumbed to the pressure of Misa, who threatened to revolt and makes all his secret dealings available to his political opponents.” Misa lost and the BJP wrested the seat.

Misa is considered to be Lalu’s shadow. Even after her wedding towards the end of 20th century, she remained in the official houses of her parents in Patna as well as Delhi. She was seen working as personal assistant to her father and mother when they were at the helm of affairs.

In June 2016 RJD chief desired to send her wife Rabri Devi to Rajya Sabha through the biennial elections so that he would be able to get a sprawling bungalow in the Lutyen’s zone, the coveted residential area by all politicians. Once again he had to retreat because of violent revolt-threat was given by Misa. Lalu Prasad did not have a way out but to oblige her.

Nevertheless, she is extremely attached to her parents. She has rarely been seen interacting with the common people from the constituency she contested and claims to the journalists “I am still serving them.”

Tej, The Fire

Lalu Prasad’s eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav, who served as health minister until July 26 last, spends most of his time and energy in performing different kinds of worships and Tantra. He is overheard telling his close friends “I am in politics because my mother told me to. For me this just fun.”

The former health minister visits the Hindu spiritual place Vrindavan about a dozen times in a year. But he never spares even an hour to pay attention to the grievances of the common people gathered at his official residence.

Tej is just that: he has a mercurial temper. According to confirmed sources, he has beaten up a number of peons and guards deputed at his parent’s residence since his childhood, as also party workers who deny his massive demands. Recently during a press meet being addressed by Lalu Prasad, he threatened a senior journalist with dire consequences when the scribe tried to click his activities on his mobile. None other than Lalu intervened to calm his son down. He apologised to the journalist on his behalf.

If grapevine is given a ear, Tej Pratap Yadav had misbehaved with his parents and siblings umpteen number of times for not fulfilling his nefarious desires. A source disclosed: “Tej Pratap Yadav had asked his father to persuade Tejashwi Yadav to step down as deputy chief minister to avert the recent political crisis that snatched his post and position. “Please Papa Chhota Bhai ko samjhaeeye to resign and make me deputy CM. We will continue in the power. I will speak to Nitish Chacha. Sabkuchh theek ho jayega.”

Glib Talker

Tejashwi Prasad Yadav is good only at talking. Like his charismatic father, he has the gift of the gab and he appears to have learnt the art of delivering impressive and attractive speeches among the people and in the state assembly. But he has never been serious about learning the techniques on how to become a pro-people and untainted politician. Faced with corruption charges that recently cost his chair, Tejashwi Yadav is being expected by millions of his fans belonging to MY (Muslim-Yadav) combination to come clean from the ugly image.

Speaking to the writer in July 2016, Tejashwi had revealed: “I would be at par with any honest leaders in the country. I am learning the tricks of becoming a good social worker both from my father as well as uncle Nitish Kumar.” He had frankly admitted that Nitish Kumar was a hard-working leader. “The Honourable chief minister has asked me to feel free to extract any technique related to governing from him, just as Arjun of Mahabharat did from Guru Dronacharya.” Ironically, the junior Yadav and the would-be successor of the dynasty of Lalu Prasad failed to stand by his commitment.

While in school he tried his best to become a cricketer. His craze for cricket led him to fail in Class Nine in the prestigious DPS School, RK Puram, in Delhi. He soon gave up his cricketing ambitions, and at the advice of his father, started addressing elections meetings during the 2014 general poll. Seasoned party leaders such as Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Prabhunath Singh, Jagadanand Singh and Abdul Bari Siddiqui used to accompany him in order to suggest tips on topics to make his speeches spicy. Jagadanand Singh, former MP and water resources minister, however, claimed:” Tejashwi inherits all the qualities to become the future chief minister of Bihar.”

Like his elder sibling, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav too is a media basher. In the last one month, he locked his horns with press persons at least twice. At one point of time, he was alleged to have asked his security guards to physically assault a TV crew on duty near the secretariat. A few days before that, hurled indecent words at a female journalist when she asked a relevant question on the political crisis in Bihar.

Stylish chirag

Unlike the offspring of Lalu Prasad, the only son of Ram Vilas Paswan, Chirag Paswan, an MP from Jamui constituency, is well behaved, sweet of tongue and a soft natured politician. After qualifying in computer engineering, Chirag nursed the dream of becoming a Bollywood actor. Ram Vilas Paswan, using or misusing his position, tried his best to shape that dream. He unsuccessfully acted in a lead role in ‘Miley Naa Miley Hum’ Hindi movie released in 2011.

The stylish son of the union minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution soon shortened his long hair and jumped into politics. It was he who cajoled his ‘secular’ father to ally with NDA before the Lok Sabha polls. He also played an important role in selecting of candidates for the Lok Sabha and 2015 Bihar assembly elections. However, he never seriously detaches himself from some basic weaknesses his father had inculcated in him.

Other prominent politicians who have their sons in politics include former chief minister Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Rajya Sabha MP and former union minister Dr C P Thakur, former union minister Raghunath Jha and former MP and minister late Sitaram Singh. None of these political inheritors are different from their fathers’ in style of functioning and approach. They are like promoted officers with no any significant achievement and contribution. They are alive in the ‘profession’ of politics merely on compassionate grounds.

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