Is the road over for Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad after his sentencing in a 17-year-old fodder scam case or will the man of all seasons tackle the challenges ahead and come out courageously.
Yadav, known as a crowd puller and shrewd politician, became the Chief Minister of Bihar in 1990.
His stock in national political scene went high when he halted the “Rath Yatra” of L.K. Advani in Bihar, while it was on its way to Ayodhya.
He, however, had to resign in 1997 following escalating corruption charges relating to the fodder scam.
The man, who has often criticized for promoting and encouraging caste-based politics and the corruption cases against him, very effectively managed this political turmoil and did not disappoint his well-wishers.
From 1997 to 2005, with brief interruptions, he made his wife Rabri Devi, who had spent most of her time in the kitchen and doing household work, the Chief Minister.
Her political opponents often accused her as having served as his ‘surrogate’ as Lalu continued to rule through proxy.
Lalu, who claims to represent the poor and the marginalized sections of society, is a crowd puller par excellence.
The RJD, which has suffered a major blow following Lalu’s sentencing, has vowed to tackle the challenges ahead and keep on the momentum set up by the party chief.
The RJD has also downplayed speculation that Yadav’s younger son Tejaswi would now be handed over the leadership of the party.
The RJD, which claims to have planned its policies and programmes for the upcoming elections, has said that it will continue to work towards achieving its goals.
The fodder scam also known as ‘Chara Ghotala’ involved the siphoning of funds from the Bihar Government treasury. The alleged theft spanned over several years, and many Bihar state government administrative and elected officials across multiple administrations were allegedly engaged in it.
Additionally, there are also allegations that they were involved in the fabrication of "vast herds of fictitious livestock" for which fodder, medicines and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.
The fodder scam was unearthed in Bihar in 1996 when Lalu Prasad was the Chief Minister of the state. He had resigned from the post in 1997 after a court issued an arrest warrant against him in connection with one of the cases.