While Lalu faces a six year ban after his five year jail term from contesting elections, the decision of not letting Rabri or Misa or anybody from the family run for elections may well be a bad one.
It has been only three days since Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was sentenced in fodder scam. But the question over the party leadership loomed long before when he was convicted on September 29. It was kind of expected from the special CBI court instituted for the matter.
In order to end the endless question thrown in at their side by the media, RJD leaders met to decide on the fate of the party on Sunday.
It was decided in the meeting that Lalu and Rabri will jointly lead RJD. Rabri Devi, who had earlier said that Lalu Prasad would continue to be the RJD leader, also declared she would not contest the Lok Sabha elections from the Saran constituency, represented by her husband.
“It was unanimously decided by RJD leaders and workers gathered here that Lalu Prasad would continue to lead the RJD from prison and Rabri Devi from outside. Now Lalu-Rabri together would lead the party,” RJD general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav told media in Patna after a meeting of the RJD at 10 Circular road, Rabri Devi’s official residence.
The RJD also announced that Lalu Prasad would continue to be national president of the party.
The RJD meeting was attended by senior party leaders, legislators and MPs and discussed the strategy to run the party while Lalu Prasad is behind bars.
“In the meeting, Lalu Prasad’s message from jail was read out before party leaders and workers. He urged the party leaders and workers to fight against communal forces and communalism,” said state RJD president Ramchandra Purve.
Speaking to reporters earlier, Rabri Devi said, “I will not contest elections either from Saran or any other seat.” Lalu Prasad was disqualified as MP after being convicted and jailed in the 1996 fodder scam. He won his Lok Sabha seat from Saran in 2004 and 2009. She added that their daughter Misa Bharti too would not contest from Patna.
When Lalu was convicted and sent to Birsa Munda jail in Ranchi immediately after his conviction, Rabri had assumed charge of the party, though unofficially, saying that she will run it with her son Tejaswi just like Sonia and Rahul ran Congress. However, all the senior party leaders maintained that Lalu was their only leader.
Their statement not only reflected that they were not read for Tejaswi’s ascendance but also discarded Rabri as the whole and soul of RJD.
Moreover, they did not point a finger on Rahul Gandhi or his Congress party for taking the ordinance down which could have saved Lalu from immediate disqualification from Lok Sabha. All the way, the party and its leaders kept blaming BJP and the broken ally JD(U) for conspiring against Lalu.
While Lalu faces a six year ban after his five year jail term from contesting elections, the decision of not letting Rabri or Misa or anybody from the family run for elections may well be a bad one. The Yadav minority in Bihar might be running on sympathy wave despite Lalu facing jail due to his involvement in a scam.
Also, his chances of winning seats were looking good as his party won the Maharjganj bypolls by major margins.
Since Lalu’s political acumen cannot be doubted much, we can only wait for his next move. Rabri and Misa may be out of the picture, but there is no word on Tejaswi yet. Maybe he is the another prince in the making.