In December 2021, RJD leader and Bihar Deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav tied the knot with long-time friend Rachel Godinho. While Tejaswi comes from a political background, Rachel, who is now Rajshri, comes from a regular set-up.
Describing his wife as “the perfect partner,” he said his family fully supported his decision to marry her. In an online interview, Tejaswi (32), shared: “I told my father I’m dating this girl and I would love to marry her. But she’s a Christian.”
“My dad was like, ‘It’s OK. No problem’,” he added.
“People should know this about Lalu-ji,” he said, referencing his father, a political veteran, to the caste complexities of Bihar. Elaborating further, he shared that his sisters had “arranged marriages, but not forcefully,” explaining that his father is a modern man in many ways. They were given the freedom to reject the grooms they were introduced to: “Nobody forced anyone.”
“There’s been a perception about my father, our family, about Bihar. But things are not like that,” he said, “My dad has always given freedom to my sisters. He would keep them at the forefront.” The second youngest of the nine children of Lalu Yadav and Rabri Devi, he has seven sisters and a brother.
Asked how he approached the decision to not consider religion or caste, he also said: “I really wanted it to happen after both sides agreed. We never wanted anyone to be unhappy.” It worked out without a hitch. I am happy. And my parents are happy.”
On her change of name from Rachel to Rajshri, he stated that it was her decision as “people of Bihar will find it easier to pronounce”. “the name was suggested by my father,” he said.
Rachel aka Rajshri Yadav, who is from Haryana, has kept a low profile, and made a rare comment after her husband took oath yesterday. “I thank everyone,” she told reporters.
BJP leaders have been using Tejaswi Yadav’s marriage to taunt the RJD over its demand for a caste census. “The yuvrajs (crown princes) of both UP and Bihar have broken the caste barrier. Hence, their parties should stop worrying about caste census,” BJP’s Samrat Chaudhary, a former minister in Nitish Kumar’s JDU-BJP government, had said, also referring to Samajwadi Party leader Akhilesh Yadav having married outside the Yadav community.
Rachel and Tejaswi’s friendship dates back to their school days. Both went to the same school: Delhi Public School, RK Puram in Delhi. According to media reports, the two were in a relationship since 2015. A native of Haryana’s Rewari district, she completed her school education from the national capital like Tejaswi who studied in Delhi as his father RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav lived in the national capital for quite a while.
While originally a native of Haryana’s Rewari district, Godinho’s family, according to media reports, owns a house in South Delhi’s Friends Colony. She previously worked in a private airline as a cabin crew personnel. Her father is also reported to have retired from the post of Principal at one of the city’s schools.
Tejaswi kept the celebrations low-key in the wake of the Omicron variant scare. What would have been an extremely high-profile wedding, considering his stature as a formidable and ambitious young leader of the state, turned out to be a low-key wedding with few political heavyweights present at the wedding ceremony.