Former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad was in 2013 convicted by a special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court in a case related to the embezzlement of funds meant for the purchase and distribution of cattle fodder. As separate cases were registered for withdrawal of money from various places in Bihar, he was convicted by a CBI court to around 14 years in prison.
But here’s the twist. He is currently in prison in Ranchi. In the last five years, because of the rule of Bharatiya Janata Party’s Raghubar Das, Lalu got little consideration from the state authorities whose guest he was. But earlier, when Hemant Soren was CM, Lalu was shifted out of the jail into a government guest house where every possible facility was made available to him. Now Soren is back as CM. it is hardly surprising that Lalu should have congratulated him warmly and made dire predictions about the BJP’s future.
Lalu’s party, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) was in alliance with Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in the election. The chances are the prisons portfolio will go to a member of the RJD. Even if it doesn’t, the RJD will find it has a sanctuary in Jharkhand. This in turn, will have implications for the party’s strategy and politics in the upcoming assembly elections in Bihar: because now, Lalu Prasad’s political expertise will be available to the RJD without fetters.
It all depends on how soon this happens and whether somebody petitions the court to see Lalu does not get ‘preferential’ treatment. Either way, RJD is now in for an overhaul.