The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Absent Laloo eclipses stars

Patna, Nov. 25: The stars lit up the Bihar political sky for the second time last night when they descended for the wedding of Purnea MP Pappu Yadav’s sister, a few months after Laloo Prasad Yadav’s daughter got married in a star-studded ceremony.

However, the former Bihar chief minister decided to give the event a miss, much to the disappointment of guests, especially the stars who had come all the way from Mumbai.

The stars who landed in Patna last night included actors Asrani, Shakti Kapoor and Chunky Pandey and singer Udit Narayan. Asrani played to the gallery, heaping praise on Laloo Prasad. “Hasne, hasane mein Laloo mahir hai (Laloo is great in laughing and making others laugh),” the comedian said. “He laughs even when he is in crisis.”

The not-so-dazzling stars, Chunky and Shakti, recaptured some of their lost glory as they were mobbed by guests, mostly Pappu’s supporters, at Patna Club where the lavish wedding took place. The duo, who looked visibly uncomfortable as the crowd roared, tried to save the situation by sharing a few awkward jokes.

“It is clear that the star cast has lost its status and dignity. They have a tendency to be roped in by anybody, famous or notorious,” said Narshima Subramaniam, a researcher with an NGO.

Pappu had reserved the club and the Miller schoolground opposite the club for two days since last evening. Most hotels in Patna, where the guests were lodged, hung “No Room” signboards.

The club was reserved for the stars, while the MP’s supporters gathered in the pandal erected on the schoolground. It was bedecked with colourful lights, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the one in Laloo Prasad’s daughter’s wedding.

Political camaraderie was in ample evidence with the presence of at least 10 Union ministers, including Sharad Yadav, Sahib Singh Verma and Rajiv Pratap Rudi.

There were also at least a dozen MLAs and leaders from Uttar Pradesh like Kalraj Mishra and the state’s Opposition leader, Azam Khan.

Breaking political barriers, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav made an appearance. Pappu was all smiles to see his former party colleague. Mulayam, however, refused to “make any political talk”.

Pappu, a terror in the Purnea- Katihar area, is facing trial in connection with the murder of a CPM leader.

He was recently in the news when he was found missing from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences in Delhi, where he had been sent from Bihar for treatment. According to sources, Pappu was busy in Mumbai contacting film stars and singers. He, however, denied being away from the hospital.

Hamare netaji Patna mein dikha diya hai” (Our leader has proved it in Patna),” said Jayprakash Rai, Pappu Yadav’s supporter from Purnia.

Underlining “Pappu sahab’s” achievement, Rai said although he is just an MP — as opposed to Laloo Prasad who is also the former chief minister — “ab charcha mein aa gaya hai ki nahin” (Hasn’t he begun to figure in the political discussions now)”'

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