Rabri Devi, wife of incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad and former Bihar chief minister, will lead the party in his absence, its National General Secretary Ramkripal Yadav said on Sunday.
The decision to anoint her was taken at a crucial meeting of RJD MPs, MLAs, MLCs and senior party functionaries at Rabri Devi's residence here during the day.
"Prasad is our leader and will remain so in future...In his absence Rabri will guide us as she had done in the past," Yadav told reporters after emerging from the meeting.
Prasad is in a Ranchi jail after being convicted in a fodder scam case by a CBI court which handed him five years' imprisonment.
Expressing faith in the higher judiciary and in the people, Yadav, a trusted lieutenant of the couple, said, "Prasad will come out unscathed (when he moves the high court) and will lead us once again in future."
The RJD leaders and workers have pledged to remain united in this "hour of crisis" and expressed their determination to expose the conspiracy of JD(U) and BJP to get Prasad framed in the fodder scam case.
The party leaders and workers would go to villages and tell the people about the "conspiracy", he said adding "We will expose both JD(U) and BJP and give a befitting reply to the communal forces."
RJD national spokesman Iliyas Hussain said the reins of the party still remained in the "strong hands" of Prasad. "He remains the undisputed leader of the party today and will be so in future as well."
Rabri Devi will be the party's guiding force and RJD will carry out its scheduled programmes as usual, he added.
Yadav read out a message from Lalu Yadav in which he greeted the people of Bihar on the occasion of Dusshera, Eid-ul-Azha and Chhath festivals and appealed to the people to maintain communal amity and brotherhood.
RJD state unit president Ramchandra Purve said the party leaders and workers have expressed faith in the leadership of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi under whose guidance the party's scheduled programmes like the district-level meetings will be completed after the Dusshera festival.
The meeting in all 243 Assembly constituencies will take place from next month, he added.