Bihar’s strong man Lalu Prasad Yadav, — a former union railways minister, former chief minister of the state and the supremo of the Rastriya Janata Dal (RJD), a party having the maximum number of MLA’s in the current Bihar assembly – was the most vocal propagator of the politics of “social justice” and “secularism”. Unfortunately over the last few days, as suspicion gathers strength over the durability the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government in Bihar, in which RJD is the biggest component, Lalu seems to be focussing only on “secularism” as his concrete weapon against what he alleges to be the”political vendetta” of the Narendra Modi government and the BJP against his family.” RJD’s emphatic assertion that they will not quit, despite Nitishi’s ultimatum, asking the two Yadav brothers to come clean of the charges leveled against them, have put serious question marks over the future of the “Mahagathbandhan”(grand alliance) government that includes Congress as well. Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister of Bihar, who is also the supremo of the JD (U), is, it seems, becoming increasingly uncomfortable with RJD ever since the central investigating agencies “found incriminating material” against Lalu, his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti, and his two sons — Tejashwi Yadav, who is the current deputy chief minister while Tej Pratap is a senior cabinet minister — in various “corrupt deals” over the last 13 years.
This analysis is not about the authenticity (or the lack of it) of these charges; it deals with the politics around these charges. In the public perception, Lalu’s background has been such that the corruption charges against him, and the exploitation of his political opponents on these scores, seem credible. Let us remember the “cruel” fact that Lalu has been the first big-time politician of the country who has been debarred from contesting elections, following his conviction by the court of corrupt practices. Lalu’s has, literaly been a rags-to-riches story, which in itself say a lot.