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Will Lalu Yadav’s son Tejashwi Yadav be able to become the chief minister of Bihar this time?
Thirty-one-year-old Tejashwi is now the biggest leader of RJD. He is now a part of social media platforms, posters, slogans, and election songs. The RJD is now becoming “Tejashwi Brand”.
The situation is such that even his father Lalu Yadav is missing from the ‘Nayi Soch, Naya Bihar’ posters. Even though Tejaswi has inherited his father’s name, does he know its market value?
In the marketing and management industry, it is usually said that to start a business or to launch a brand, a SWOT -- Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, and Threat -- analysis is mandatory.
Bihar Assembly elections are around the corner, and this is the second one for Tejashwi Yadav, and first under his leadership since his father Lalu Yadav was lodged in jail.
Here we have done a SWOT analysis to understand ‘Brand Tejashwi’.
1. Lalu Prasad Yadav
The biggest strength of Tejashwi is “Brand Lalu”. Even though Lalu Yadav is in jail, Tejashwi has inherited Lalu’s name, his identity, and his political field. Till date, Yadav is nothing less than a messiah for the minorities and the backward communities.
2. Young Voices in The Crowd of Elderly Leaders
Leaders from the Jayprakash Narayan (JP) movement in Bihar now belongs to the ‘elderly category’. Leaders like Nitish, Lalu, Sushil Modi, and Ram Vilas Paswan are of retirement age. Meanwhile, Tejashwi stands alone in the field to fill the space of young leadership. Although Ram Vilas Paswan's son Chirag is also young, like his father, he is playing ‘safe politics’.
According to Election Commission statistics, there are more than 4 crore voters between the ages of 18 and 40 years in Bihar. This means more than half of the voters are young.
3. Grip on Language
Tejashwi may only have studied till 9th standard, but his command over the English language is commendable. This is one of his strengths. The way Prime Minister Narendra Modi and RJD leader Lalu Yadav are known for their firebrand speeches, Tejashwi’s stellar speech in Patna Assembly on 28 July 2017 after separating from Nitish Kumar’s party, lifted him from being Lalu Yadav’s son to the leader of the Opposition.
Listen to Tejashwi's speech in the Assembly after the breakup of Grand Alliance:
4. Strong Opposition
The RJD became the single largest party in 2015 elections and Tejashwi became the deputy chief minister.
But within 20 months, Nitish Kumar broke the alliance with RJD, following which Tejashwi took the responsibility as the leader of the Opposition. Whether it is counting the failures of the government during the coronavirus pandemic, or helping the people during the floods, he has presented himself as a strong Opposition leader.
1. Lacks Political Shrewdness
Tejashwi is still new to the political game. After Lalu went to jail, Tejashwi did comparatively better in by-elections, such as winning the Araria Lok Sabha by-election by bringing Nitish's camp MLA Sarfaraz Alam into his party.
But in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress, along with Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, Mukesh Sahni’s VIP and few other parties of the Left, lost the Lok Sabha elections. Tejashwi lacks political shrewdness, and it’s difficult to find a pair as strong as Narendra Modi and Nitish Kumar.
2. Nothing Much to Tell
Tejashwi remained in power for only twenty months. In such a situation he has little to show as far as his work is considered, except to count the shortcomings of Nitish Kumar.
3. Lack of Understanding With Senior Leaders
Tejashwi may have taken over the party, but many senior leaders have left the party and expressed their displeasure.
Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, a close confidant of Lalu Yadav, resigned as the party’s vice president and left the party just before his death. Resenting voices of senior leaders like Shivanand Tiwari, and one after the other, MLAs leaving RJD and joining Nitish Kumar’s JDU, tell that Tejashwi needs to learn more.
Even though Tejashwi inherited Lalu Yadav’s name, this name is also often a cause for trouble. Lalu Yadav is in jail in a corruption case, his family is accused of many scams, and he is also dealing with a CBI case. Lalu and Rabri Devi’s rule was often called ‘Jungle Raj’.
However, to create his own identity, Tejashwi has also apologised for all this. Tejashwi had said:
“Well, we were in power for 15 years, but we were not in government, we were small. Even then our government remained. No one can deny that social justice did not happen under the rule of Lalu Prasad Yadav. In 15 years, if we had any deficiency or mistake, we apologise for it.”
5. Family Disputes
Family values are considered to be very important in India. In such a situation, unconfirmed reports about the rift in the Lalu family increase the odds for Tejashwi. Misa Bharti, Tej Pratap, or Tejashwi, who will be Lalu's heir?
This question also weakens the party. Meanwhile, Lalu Yadav's stay in jail also adds to the weakness of the family and Tejashwi.
Away From Ground Politics
The new RJD looks active on social media but the ground cadre is weak. The workers of the parties against whom they are fighting are standing at the booths.
When Bihar was suffering from Encephalitis, Tejashwi suddenly disappeared for several days, and kept away from media and party workers for many days after the defeat in the Lok Sabha elections. Even during Patna floods, where pictures of leaders like Pappu Yadav were circulating, Tejashwi Yadav was missing.
The first thing that goes in favour of Tejashwi is time. The political career of Tejashwi started when he sat on the deputy CM's chair at the age of 26. His political career has just begun, which means there will be many opportunities to prove himself.
2. Return of Lalu Era
Tejashwi is the biggest face of the Opposition, and currently, he is the single biggest contender for the post of chief minister after Nitish Kumar. He has already become deputy CM, so the next step will be chief minister’s chair.
Public Miffed With JDU-BJP
The biggest opportunity for Tejashwi is to make a place in the hearts of the public. Issues like floods, coronavirus, unemployment, poor health system, extreme lack of industry, and crime are in the hands of Tejashwi. The public looks for alternatives, and he has a chance to fill that political gap.
Tejashwi is the biggest threat to himself. From his closest ones to the media, discussions about Tejashwi's over-confidence are rife. Take 2019 Loksabha elections, for instance, where his unwavering confidence was clearly visible after winning the bypolls in some seats. It appeared as if he was unstoppable.
In the Lok Sabha elections, he was boasting about ticket-sharing, but the BJP-JDU gave such a defeat that perhaps Lalu Yadav wouldn’t have even imagined it.
Another threat that Tejashwi is facing in front of him is the Nitish-BJP alliance. Nitish Kumar may never have won the election on his own, but with the help of a coalition, he surely knows how to sit in the chair.
The BJP, which gave the slogan of self-reliant Bihar, could never establish their party as self-sufficient in Bihar in all these years. The alliance of JDU-BJP is the biggest headache for Tejashwi.
3. Family or Tej Pratap Yadav
Tejashwi has handled the party and family since his father went to jail, but Tej Pratap's displeasure has come up many times. Tej Pratap is his elder brother and Misa is the elder sister. Both are active in politics.
The family seems united, that's why his path seems smooth, otherwise, he will be under constant danger.
Tejashwi's party is weak without a coalition. RJD fought in alliance with Congress-JDU in 2015. In 2019 also, RJD fought with many parties together. But now, Tejashwi is neither with Nitish nor with Manjhi.
Other Opposition parties have also questioned the style of Tejashwi's work.
Now if management guru Lalu Yadav's son Tejaswi has to maintain the ‘Brand Tejashwi’ in the political market, there is no harm in looking at this SWOT analysis.
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