Game on, Bihar!: Lalu Prasad Yadav's bail means sleepless nights ahead for Nitish government?
Known for turning the applecart of politics without giving an iota of hint to opponent, Lalu Prasad might pretend to remain ‘silent’ or ‘less-active’ in politics after return to Patna.
PATNA: After a long time, politics in Bihar is speculated to get a new turn with the release of imprisoned RJD chief Lalu Prasad. He was granted bail by the Jharkhand High Court in connection with the multi-crore fodder scam.
Known for turning the applecart of politics without giving an iota of hint to opponent, Lalu Prasad might pretend to remain ‘silent’ or ‘less-active’ in politics after return to Patna. But his political- intelligence cannot remain idle in the present context of Bihar politics. The former Chief Minister is a great political mathematician, adroit in political, what local analysts call, ‘Jor-Ghatao’ (addition and subtraction). He has acquired mastery in politics over how a subject can be converted into an issue of people.
Amid the surging COVID-19 crisis, how the news of Lalu Prasad's release has brought gloom on the face of NDA leaders was evident. While the supporters of RJD supremo exhibited their jubilation, CM Nitish Kumar feigned ignorance on the matter and said, ‘Mujhe nahi malum hai. Chalo ye sab hote rahata hai’, (I have not come to know it. It keeps happening), while coming out from an all-party meet on Saturday.
“Ab khela hobe Bihar me’ (Now game will happen in Bihar), was what Kedar Yadav-a die-hard supporter of Lalu Prasad jokingly expressed in jubilation. Bihar’s political corridors went pondering and predicting as to whether there will be a change in the political air of the state after he comes out of jail. Bihar’s many political pundits started predicting ‘something unusual’ to take place, maybe not sooner but certainly later.
Many feel the return of Lalu may fall like a hammer on the stability of the ruling NDA government. “Even if Lalu Prasad’s silence may result into a twist in politics,giving hard times to Nitish Kumar- led government, which is surviving on the supports of two smaller allies”, said Ashok Kumar Mishra, a political commentator at Patna.
When asked if political equations change in Bihar if Lalu Prasad Yadav comes out on bail, veteran political analyst and former director of AN Sinha Institute of Social Sciences DM Diwakar said: “Since Lalu Prasad is still considered as a leader of mass, his words and statements in politics are taken seriously by large sections of people and his political manoeuvring is well known to his all opponents”.
It may be possible that due to his poor health, Lalu Prasad may not play from the front but his strategies will help the RJD in giving sleepless night to NDA. A tweet of Lalu’s elder son Tej Pratap Yadav: “The messiah of poor, deprived and downtrodden people are coming out, Tell those who do injustice, our leader is coming”, speaks a lot of what is next on the agenda of RJD after Lalu’s return.
Many political experts, who know Lalu’s political strategies, said that arrogant bureaucracy, COVID-crisis, prohibition and unemployment may be fanned to move the people against the ruling side. In state like Bihar, the growing anger against irresponsible bureaucrats can be used against the government by the RJD.
Dr RK Verma, acclaimed political analyst and honorary secretary of Bihar chapter of Indian Institute of Political administration, said:” Lalu’s appearance after being out on bail will strengthen the political forces-OBCs led by Yadav and Muslims. His presence will certainly be enough to sharpen the RJD's further strategies against ruling alliance more aggressively”.
For the last three decades, Lalu Prasad has been the axis of Bihar politics. But for RJD supporters, it was the sacred Saturday that proved lucky for bail to Lalu Prasad. Tejashwi Yadav, leader of opposition and Lalu’s younger son said that the bail to RJD chief was a victory of justice and reaffirms the trust of people in the judiciary. “But we will act as per the advice of doctors who are taking care of him in AIIMS”, he said.
Sources said that either on Tuesday or Wednesday, Lalu Prasad will come out from judicial custody completing all legal formalities. “If doctors allow, he may come to Patna or otherwise continue under safe treatment in AIIMS”, said RJD sources.