| Laloo Prasad Yadav with his son during the ceremony. (PTI)
The stage was set today for the cricketing coronation of the younger son of Bihar’s first family, in the presence of the state’s leading politicians.
Tejeswi Prasad Yadav, 14, hailed as a “rising star” in cricket, strode to the dais at the S.K. Memorial Hall here this afternoon to receive the Khel Kirti award for his outstanding performance.
The eighth child of Laloo Prasad and chief minister Rabri Devi was showered with praise by Bihar ministers, Rashtriya Janata Dal MLAs and his parents as he accepted the award from his mother.
The Khel Kirti award was presented to two other budding sportsmen, including the physically-challenged Babar Arafat who bagged gold medals at the Special Olympics in Dublin. But Tejeswi, a Class VIII student at a public school here, was clearly the star of the day.
“He is the rising star in Bihar cricket”, said Ramchandra Khan, an inspector-general level officer as Tejeswi stood by nervously.
As the ministers present urged Rabri to get a good coach for her son, the organisers of the function urged Tejeswi to “say something”.
This annoyed his fellow sportsmen, who felt this was not cricket. Not having been invited to speak, they began booing, but fell silent soon after.
Tejeswi then began to speak. “I thank you, my mother and chief minister of the state,” he said, in a voice choked with emotion. He also thanked the government for the award and recognising his talent.
The budding cricketer, who received a Rs 51,000 cash prize along with his award, said he was handing back the money to the sports minister for helping poor sports persons.
A proud Laloo Prasad said Tejeswi had displayed his cricketing talent. “He is a born cricketer. It is his obsession and I hope he does well,” the RJD chief said.
Ashoke Singh, minister of sports and youth welfare, said Tejeswi had represented Delhi Public School, R.K. Puram, at the school level (under-19) in England last year. This year, he participated in a day-night school cricket tournament held in Chicago. Tejeswi was also adjudged man of the match at an inter-school game at Patna earlier this year.
“We have no doubts about his talent,” Singh added.
Laloo Prasad has two sons and seven daughters. Two daughters, including his eldest child Misa, won gold medals while studying medicine — controversies over their academic excellence continue to rage.
The RJD chief appears to be projecting his younger son as an ace cricketer even as elder son Tejpratap is being groomed to assume his political mantle. “He (Tejpratap) is also intelligent and was described as ‘yuva samrat’ in one political rally,” said a family source.
When Laloo controversially became president of the (still unrecognised) Bihar Cricket Association two years ago, many had warned that he was taking over the outfit for non-cricketing reasons.
“He was grabbing the chair… not for potential cricketers of the state,” former India cricketer and Darbhanga MP Kirti Azad said.
He had said Bihar cricket did not need a Laloo Prasad to promote it.
At the time, the RJD chief had said: “I don’t know much of cricket. My younger son is my adviser.” Today, he was smiling broadly as he revelled in his son’s glory. “It (cricket) was a rich man’s game earlier. Today it has been proved there is so much talent even in poor families,” he added.
It would appear that 1, Anne Marg is determined to leave its imprint on more than just politics.