Not contesting LS election, what’s cooking in Rabri’s kitchen

Patna : Politics was never meant to be her cup of tea. But now, whether she would be contesting from the Saran Lok Sabha constituency in Lok Sabha Elections 2019 was one of the issues of everyone’s chai pe charcha.

Well, she is not.

Welcome to the family of Rabri Devi, who ha seemingly switched from once being Lalu Prasad Yadav’s ‘proxy’ to now being Tejashwi’s proxy like most Indian women, who oscillate between the husband and the son, but is still, in fact, the linchpin of her family/party.

In 2014, Rabri Devi contested from Saran, a family seat for the Yadavs, and lost to the BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Instead of Rabri Devi, Tej Pratap’s father-in-law, Chandrika Rai, will be fielded from this family seat now.

But does that whittle down Rabri Devi’s political significance?

Well, in 1997, Rabri Devi became the CM as Lalu Prasad Yadav had to quit following the fodder scam. She was termed the ‘seat-warmer’ for Lalu, was criticised for her lack of education and experience and for her large family (she is a mother of nine children).

As far as elections are concerned, she never tasted success.

But she also never quit neither the day when she first came to her in-laws’ house after a year of her wedding (that was the custom in their families) which was the very day Lalu Prasad got arrested, nor the day when a simmering rift reportedly between his two sons — Tejashwi and Tej Pratap, came to the fore, just a few days before the elections.

Tej Pratap has recently resigned as RJD students’ wing member. But this is not among the worst that this woman of 10 Circular Road has seen. She has had to convince her children to keep their trust in their father, her ministers that she was able to pull off the role that she has been thrust into, multiple journalists that she might ccertainly take orders from her husband while he’s in prison but no, she won’t take any wrong order.

Whether she stood true to all these responsibilities can be a debate for another time but, the truth is, she has been a quiet, firm and dignified axis point for Bihar’s former first family. Starting from the famed Lalu-Nitish clash to today’s rift between the brothers, or Tej Pratap’s broken marriage, she has been a consistent safety valve.

She has papered over matters between Tej and Aishwariya, terming these ‘family issues’. Tej Pratap has accused his family of forcing him to marry an ‘urban’ Aishwariya for political reasons. Now that the marriage reportedly hasn’t sailed through, his father-in-law Chandrika Rai has been offered the Saran seat.

According to reports, Tej Pratap may now even contest against his father-in-law as a rebel candidate. Good optics for political observers but bad for the party.

Only Rabri Devi can calm these troubled times down. As she has done in the past.