Despite being sentenced to jail for 11 years in the Fodder Scam case, Lalu Prasad Yadav has been re-elected as the chief of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Tuesday. He has been elected party president for the 11th time.
After being convicted in the multi-crore fodder scam cases, Yadav is lodged in Birsa Munda Central Jail from December 23, 2017. He has also been getting treatment at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi since August 2018. The RJD supremo was sentenced last year to seven years imprisonment under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and seven years under the Prevention of Corruption Act in the fodder scam case. He was also slapped with a fine of Rs 60 lakh in the case. The case pertains to the fraudulent withdrawal of Rs 3.5 crore from the Dumka treasury by Animal Husbandry Department officials between 1991 and 1996 when Lalu was the undivided state's chief minister.
Lalu Prasad Yadav's career goes back the 1989 elections when the Janata Dal had won 32 Lok Sabha seats out of 54 in the united Bihar (before creation of Jharkhand). He, along with Nitish Kumar was one among the ones who spearheaded the campaign against the Congress. After the death of Karpoori Thakur in 1988, he became the leader of opposition in Bihar legislative assembly.
In 1990 assembly elections, Lalu Prasad was elected as the chief minister. At that time, JDU chief Nitish Kumar was said to be his 'Chanakya' to clinch the deal in his favour. Later, in 1991 and 1996 Lok Sabha polls, Lalu, still a part of Janta Dal, lead the party to win 31 and 22 seats respectively. In 1997, he broke away from the Janata Dal and floated his own outfit- Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)- with the support of 17 Lok Sabha MPs and eight Rajya Sabha MPs from Bihar. The entire Janata Dal legislature party in Bihar became part of the RJD under his leadership. As the Fodder Scam cases against him were unearthed in 1997, Lalu lodged his wife Rabri Devi at the helm of affairs not only for his party but for the entire state, making her the CM of the state. In the 1998 Lok Sabha polls, RJD retained 17 Lok Sabha seats but performed poorly in 1999, winning only seven seats.
What may be called the decline of Lalu, was the rise of Nitish Kumar as a leader. In 1994, owing to differences with Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar and George Fernandes had quit the Janta Dal and formed their own party called Samta Party. In 1999, two other factions broke out from Janta Dal - Sharad Yadav's Janta Dal and HD Deve Gowda's JD(S). The Janata Dal (United) was formed with the merger of the Sharad Yadav faction of the Janata Dal, the Lokshakti Party and the Samata Party.
Even though Lalu emerged victorious in the 2000 assembly elections with the support of Congress and formed the government in Bihar with Rabri Devi as the chief minister, in the next state polls in 2005, the party could win only 75 assembly seats. Being a Congress ally in 2004, Lalu became the railway minister despite his party winning only 22 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state. In the February 2005 assembly polls, Nitish Kumar's party defeated RJD, as Lalu's party could win only 54 seats. In 2010, the graph fell further when Nitish Kumar swept the state polls and RJD could win only 22 seats.
With the rise of Nitish Kumar, RJD won only four seats in 2009 and after his conviction in a fodder scam case in 2013 and sentence of five years, he was disqualified from the Lok Sabha and barred from contesting elections. In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, his party could manage to win four seats and drew blank in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. However, Lalu and Kumar came together in 2015 when the latter broke from NDA and joined the Mahagathbandhan. The 2015 state assembly saw the JD(U) won 71 seats and RJD won 80 seats. However, Kumar broke ranks with Mahagathbandhan over his 'conscience call' and alleged corruption cases against Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav.
Meanwhile, with the Bihar assembly elections due in 2020, Lalu Yadav's elder son Tej Pratap Yadav on Tuesday posted on Twitter that Bihar needs a change. His younger son Tejashwi Yadav has been slamming the Bihar government under Nitish Kumar for poor law and order condition. On the other hand, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Pratap Singh has been suggesting that RJD needs Nitish Kumar to keep BJP away from power in Bihar.
बिहार का युवा अब भरेगा हुँकार— Tej Pratap Yadav (@TejYadav14) December 3, 2019
बदलेंगे बिहार को, बदलेंगे इस जनविरोधी सरकार को। pic.twitter.com/PE4nv9aEpi