PATNA: In an open letter he wrote for Bihar’s people from the Ranchi jail, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Saturday said his imprisonment after conviction in the second fodder scam case does not make him afraid and that he would never compromise with his political ideologies of secularism and equal rights for backward classes and dalits.
The impassioned letter in Hindi, punctuated with attacks on BJP and the “Manuvadis”, was read out before a large audience of RJD leaders and supporters at Yadav’s residence in Patna by his younger son and former deputy chief minister Tejaswi Yadav. The meeting, chaired by Lalu’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, was attended by all sitting legislators and MPs of RJD and many former lawmakers of the party.
Addressed to “my dear people of Bihar,” the letter begins with the 69-year-old leader saying that he remembers his “long journey against injustice and inequality” and thinks of the “remaining struggles for the rights of dalits, backward and extremely backward people” as he writes the letter.
“You should ponder repeatedly about why always people from deprived and neglected sections are sent to jail in the name of so-called corruption,” says the letter. “All these unholy acts and fraud is being enacted not just to harass Lalu. The real aim of these acts is to keep you away from power and resources,” adds Lalu in an evident bid to retain the sympathy and support of his electoral base of dalits, backward castes and Muslims in Bihar.
Claiming his innocence in the fodder scam cases and portraying the judicially upheld charges against him, he writes: “Do not you understand that these Manuvadis are so full of the arrogance of power that they term a cattle-raiser and bohemian person like Lalu as a scamster? Is the truth behind such injustice for a man who fought all his life for the poor people’s rights hidden from anyone?” Lalu wrote that he was being targeted for his “repeated refusal to surrender before RSS, the largest outfit championing casteism and fascism”. Vowing to never surrender, he adds: “I know how to speak not only with my eyes on their eyes, but also with my finger in their eyes”.
Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said the party would spread Lalu’s message across Bihar and heighten the struggle for socio-economic equality of the masses.
Bihar’s ruling JD(U) and BJP leaders, however, dismissed Lalu’s letter as “crafty and futile posturing” in his desperate bid to retain his sagging support base. “Struggling for the rights of the deprived sections does not mean indulging in corruption and amassing huge assets for family members. The people of Bihar clearly understand this,” said JD(U) spokesperson Ajay Alok.