Bihar’s Many Rising Sons: From School Dropouts to Doctorates
RJD leaders lag behind on education, while their adversaries are well-qualified, writes Neena Choudhary.
Very few people know that Lalu Prasad’s elder son Tej Pratap, before donning the khadi and contesting as the RJD candidate from Bihar’s Mahua assembly constituency, actually wanted to be a pilot. 28-year-old Tej Pratap, who is only a high school graduate, was never keen on higher studies. Few years ago, he got himself enrolled in Patna’s Bihar Flying Institute for a course which would enable him to get a commercial pilot license (CPL).
Tej Pratap underwent the pre-solo stage of training during which a trainee flies an aircraft with an instructor on board. This phase of the training normally lasts till the trainee completes 40 hours of flying. Tej flew a Cessna 172, the aircraft used for training by the institute, and completed few hours of flying. To get a CPL, one must fly for at least 200 hours. But the undergraduate Tej developed cold feet midway and could not complete his course due to unknown reasons.
Lalu’s Heir Apparent
Lalu-Rabri’s younger son Tejaswi’s case is more interesting. He is believed to be the heir apparent in RJD, but has not even completed matriculation.
While filing his nomination papers from Raghopur in Vaishali, the Lalu-Rabri bastion, Tejaswi mentioned in his affidavit that he was only Class 9th pass from the prestigious DPS, RK Puram, in New Delhi. He discontinued studies in 2006 and preferred to pad up for a new innings with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL. He later played in the Jharkhand Premier League (JPL) where he was ‘purchased’ by the Jamshedpur Jaanbaaz team for a sum of Rs 1, 31,500, the second most expensive player after its captain Mihir Diwakar.
However, the two sons of Lalu-Rabri, making their debut in the Bihar assembly elections, are crorepatis. While the elder one has moveable property worth Rs 1.12 crore and immovable property of Rs 88.72 lakhs, the younger one has assets worth Rs 2.3 crore, including moveable property to the tune of Rs 1.4 crore. Together, the two brothers possess assets worth Rs 4 crore. Quite a whopping amount, given the fact that their parents fought a fierce legal battle for merely Rs 48 lakh in a disproportionate assets case for years.
Professionally Qualified Candidates
But then, why blame them alone?
Jitan Ram Manjhi’s son Santosh Kumar Suman is also a crorepati. The low-profile lecturer, who has never won an election, is in the fray from Kutumba reserved constituency in Aurangabad as the candidate of HAM, a pocket organisation of his Mahadalit icon father. However, Suman, unlike the Lalu-Rabri sons, has done his Phd.
The sons of BJP leaders Dr CP Thakur and Ashwani Choubey (both MPs) – Vivek Thakur and Arjit Shashwat, respectively – are post-graduates. While Vivek, the BJP candidate from Brahmpur, holds an MBA degree, Shashwat completed engineering from BIT, Mesra, and then pursued Masters in Business Administration from Australia. Predictably, both are crorepatis.
Shashwat (contesting from Bhagalpur) has moveable assets to the tune of Rs 45 lakh and immoveable assets worth Rs 56 lakh, while Vivek Thakur has Rs 32.9 lakhs and Rs 45 lakhs worth movable and immovable assets, respectively, besides gold.
Ram Vilas Paswan’s nephew Prince Raj, another new entrant from Paswan’s family and the LJP candidate from Kalyanpur in Samastipur, has done post-graduation from London and has assets worth crores.
Incidentally, most of the rising sons in Bihar are ‘social workers’ by profession.
(The writer is a Bihar-based journalist)
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