Lalu's love of parivar puts Rabri in Council

Lalu's love of parivar puts Rabri in Council

First, he lost the 2005 Assembly polls, and thus forfeited the mandate to rule Bihar. Then he lost the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. And the third and final nail in Lalu Prasad’s political coffin was the 2010 Assembly polls where his party was wiped out in the Nitish hurricane.

Three consecutive defeats would have made any astute politician sit up and analyse why and how power slipped out of his hand. Why and how he was made politically redundant in his home state which he wanted to rule for an uninterrupted 20 years. Why people were still wary of him and don’t want him to make a come-back. But Lalu Prasad is Lalu Prasad. Apparently, he has not learnt his lessons one bit. Nor does he know the pulse of the people any more. Little wonder, he is committing one blunder after another, thereby turning himself a ‘non-entity’ in state politics.

The latest political harakiri is his decision to send his wife Rabri Devi to the Legislative Council. Rabri contested the November 2010 Assembly elections from two constituencies — Sonepur and Raghopur – but lost from both the Yadav-dominated seats.

Barely, one and half years later, her husband, who is the RJD president too, wants her to enter the Upper House and eventually become Leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Council, so that she could enjoy the power and perks which come along with that post. As Leader of the Opposition in the Bihar Assembly (from 2005 to 2010), she was entitled to a posh bungalow, an army of staff and a fleet of cars at her disposal. But having lost the polls, she still retained her official residence at 10, Circular Road (in Patna), which no other law-maker would have been allowed to do so.

Rehabilitation plan

The only time her residence used to hog the limelight was when Lalu descended on the state capital and held ‘darbar’ with his party-men. With all the yes-men (read senior party colleagues) in tow, Lalu was (and still is) under the impression that his wish is the last word and nobody can defy the diktat. No wonder, when he, overlooking the claims of other genuine contenders, proposed the name of Rabri for the lone Council seat, nobody dared to protest the ‘rehabilitation plan’ for his wife. But after coming out, many of the senior leaders expressed  displeasure over Lalu’s bid to promote his family.

“Gone are the days when she was imposed as chief minister in 1997, even though she could not speak or write one sentence. As Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly, she performed miserably. From 2005 to 2010, she rarely intervened in the debates on the floor of the House and was no match to the treasury bench led by Nitish and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi,” averred a senior RJD leader who was earlier a minister in her cabinet.

But Lalu never cared to check the mood of his party colleagues. In the process, he has ‘back-stabbed’ three of his loyal colleagues. The first to suffer will be the present Leader of the Opposition in the Council, Ghulam Gaus. Hailing from a Pasmanda (backward) Muslim community, Gaus has been vociferously raising one crucial issue after another in the House, and trying to pin down the Nitish regime with his sharp oratory. But with Rabri likely to replace him, Gaus will be stripped of the power and perks which come along with the post.

And the most hurt person is Ramanuj Prasad Rai, who sacrificed his Sonepur seat for Rabri during November 2010 Assembly elections. He was promised to be suitably compensated in the form of an entry to the Council, but, much to his dismay, that chance too has been usurped by the very same person for whom he sacrificed his Sonepur constituency.

But how does it matter to Lalu, who still remains in a world of delusion, caring two hoots for his partymen who remained loyal to him even in the most difficult of times.

“By rehabilitating Rabri in the Council, Lalu has sent a loud and clear message to all of us that he still can’t think beyond his family. And he is not ready to learn lessons from the three successive political debacles,” rued another rebel leader, who had earlier protested Lalu’s move to name the RJD office in Delhi as Rabri Bhavan.

But then, this is what the ruling party in Bihar wanted Lalu to do. “By foisting Rabri, Lalu has proved once again that he has not changed one bit and is determined to promote parivaar-vaad (family rule) on the party, notwithstanding successive defeats. His move will serve as a reminder to the people about the lawlessness during Lalu-Rabri’s era, thereby helping us reap rich political dividends in future,” argued a close aide of Nitish.

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