PATNA: With the Supreme on Monday reviving criminal conspiracy charges against RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav in the fodder scam case, Bihar’s main Opposition BJP was virtually in a celebratory mood while the parties in the State’s ruling alliance – RJD, JD(U) and Congress – began assessing the emerging political scenario.
Coming just two days after an audio tape of a purported conversation between Yadav and jailed don-turned-politician Mohammad Shahabuddin was made public, the apex court order gave BJP more ammunition to attack the ruling alliance.
The Supreme Court order which stated Yadav’s trial over corruption charges during his term as Bihar chief minister (1990-1997) must be completed within nine months also added to the impression—fuelled mainly by BJP and its allies—that the State’s grand alliance government may not be able to complete its full term ending in 2020.
“It is certain that he (Yadav) will be convicted in the remaining cases just like he was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail in a fodder scam case in 2013, which is how he lost the right to contest polls,” said senior BJP leader and former deputy chief minister Sushil Kumar Modi.
“Now the ball is in Nitish Kumar’s court. He must decide whether to cling to power with corrupt people such as Lalu,” he added.
Modi, who has been leading a fierce campaign against Yadav and his two minister sons for the past one month, said the saffron party would consider allying with Nitish Kumar only if he cuts off all his ties with Yadav and RJD.
Leaders of JD(U), RJD and Congress, however, sought to downplay the impact of the apex court ruling, saying it would neither affect Yadav immediately, nor have any adverse impact on the State government. In Bihar’s 243-member Assembly, RJD has 80 MLAs while JD (U) and Congress have 71 and 27 respectively. BJP and its allies have just 58 legislators.
“BJP leaders are salivating to come to power in Bihar by allying with Nitish Kumar. This is why they are reading too much into a simple judicial order. It will have no impact either on Yadav or the grand alliance government,” said senior RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary.
Meanwhile, Yadav’s lawyer in Ranchi, Prabhat Kumar, said the SC order poses “no imminent threat” to the RJD chief. “He will have to face trial in the five remaining fodder scam cases against him, which are pending in different courts in Ranchi and Patna,” said Kumar.