Zee Media Bureau/Ajith Vijay Kumar
It may seem all but over for Lalu Prasad Yadav after a court in Ranchi convicted him the fodder scam and sentenced him to five years in prison. For his supporters and family though, the development is just a setback which the Yadav chieftain will soon overcome.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) workers announced their intentions soon after Lalu was handed the prison term amidst their slogan shouting in court premises, and vowing to fight the battle both legally and in the people’s court.
Lalu Yadav’s wife and former Bihar CM Rabri Devi said that her husband will continue to lead the party and will prove himself as innocent.
Speaking exclusively to Zee News, Rabri said, “There is no proof...have you seen the proof? Our house was raided, what did they get, is there any proof?”
“Party will be managed by Lalu ji. We will go the people’s court, people will decide. We will go to the High Court and the Supreme Court. Our party will not disintegrate, you just watch...,” she added.
Senior party leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh was even more certain about the revival of the Lalu magic in Bihar. He said, “Sher agar khaayi mein bhi phans jaye tab bhi vo sher hi rehta hai (a lion remains a lion even if it gets stuck in a trench),” he said.
The brave face apart, the RJD is surely at a crossroad. Lalu is the party’s mascot and its biggest crowd puller. Without him at the helm, the party may find it difficult to counter opposition heat in the run up to the Lok Saba polls in 2014.
The JD(U) after the split with the BJP is more than keen to woo the Muslims who form part of Lalu’s famed Muslim-Yadav formula to electoral success. On the other hand, the Modi-fied BJP has also set its eyes on the 40 Lok Sabha seats from Bihar in its bid to reclaim Delhi.
However, it would be premature to write off Lalu Yadav. He is a grassroots politician who has worked his way up in a politically challenging state like Bihar.
The Congress may not have been able to save him this time around- after Rahul Gandhi blocked the ordinance on convicted netas – but the grand old party may not be just yet ready to dump its long standing ally.
Nitish and Congress are warming up to each other and see reason in coming together, but will this be at the cost of the down and fallen Lalu? Will Sonia Gandhi let go of the man who was the first to stand by her side on the issue of her foreign origin? Only time will tell.