Press Esc to close

Don't write off Lalu's politics yet

The conviction of RJD leader Lalu Prasad by a CBI special court in the second of the six fodder scam cases against him was not unexpected. The case relating to the withdrawal of Rs 84.5 lakh on false grounds from the Deogarh treasury in Jharkhand was similar to the first case, in which Lalu was convicted and sentenced to five years' imprisonment in 2013. The withdrawals of money, altogether running into over Rs 900 crore, on the pretext of payments for fodder, took place in the 1990s when Lalu was the chief minister of Bihar. The cases have haunted him ever since. Politicians are not usually convicted for corruption or other crimes and so the odd conviction that happens is to be welcomed. But even after two decades of investigation and trial, only two cases have come to a conclusion. Others will take longer. The delay is not special to the fodder scam cases, but it needs to be reiterated that the long delays in the delivery of justice mean its denial.

The sentence is yet to be pronounced, but Lalu has been taken to jail. He was sentenced to a five-year term in the first case, but has got bail. It is unlikely that he will get bail in the second case, which will be considered a repeat offence. The conviction has made him ineligible to contest elections. But Lalu's political influence did not wane with his conviction, and his alliance with Nitish Kumar's JD(U) and the Congress beat the BJP in Bihar in 2015. Nitish parted ways with Lalu in 2016, on issues connected with corruption charges involving the latter's son and wife, but the RJD continues to be the largest party in the state assembly. It is unlikely that Lalu's support base in the state will be dented by the second conviction. Popular sympathy might even make him stronger. It is ironical that most politicians continue to find favour with their followers and the voters even when they are found guilty of crimes. It is unfortunate, but it is the reality of politics based on personality, caste and similar considerations.

While Lalu's following may not be affected in Bihar, and the members of his family, including his sons and wife, may push his politics in the state, his presence is bound to be missed in any anti-BJP line-up that might emerge at the national level. Lalu has always been a pillar of secular politics and has never compromised with the BJP. But again, a Lalu in jail may not mean the end of his politics at any level.

Go to Top

More from this section
Most trending stories
Photo Gallery
Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

Narendra Modi, Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara during their visit to Sabarmati Ashram...

New recruits of Madras Engineer Group and Centre during a military training demonstration...

New recruits of Madras Engineer Group and Centre during a military training demonstration...

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cock-pit of IAF's Sukhoi-30 MKI plane...

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman waves from the cock-pit of IAF's Sukhoi-30 MKI plane...

R Madhavan, Amit Sadh, Sapna Pabbi and Vijay Subramaniamduring the trailer launch...

R Madhavan, Amit Sadh, Sapna Pabbi and Vijay Subramaniamduring the trailer launch...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils' practice...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of Border Security Force (BSF) ‘Daredevils' practice...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of BSF Daredevils...

The newly-raised all women bikers contingent of BSF Daredevils...

India and Japanese Coast Guard ships participate in a joint naval drill as part of the search...

India and Japanese Coast Guard ships participate in a joint naval drill as part of the search...

Homeless people sharing meal at a pavement in New Delhi...

Homeless people sharing meal at a pavement in New Delhi...

Camel-mounted BSF soldiers participate in a rehearsal for the Beating Retreat ceremony...

Camel-mounted BSF soldiers participate in a rehearsal for the Beating Retreat ceremony...

Like us on Facebook

Copyright 2017, The Printers (Mysore) Private Ltd., 75, M.G Road, Post Box 5331, Bengaluru - 560001
Tel: +91 (80) 25880000 Fax No. +91 (80) 25880523
Powered by Yodasoft Technologies Pvt. Ltd.