Patna, Sept. 24: The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, today remained confined to his 10 Circular Road home the day an ordinance was cleared to protect convicted lawmakers from disqualification.
Lalu flew back here today from Delhi. After landing at the airport, he headed home. He remained inside with a few of his close associates.
“He has not spoken to the media,” said one of his close associates.
Though the Union government granted Lalu’s wish to clear the ordinance before September 30, the day the verdict of the fodder scam (RC 20A/96), the mood in the RJD camp was far from jubilant.
“At the best, it is a temporary relief. Laluji will continue to be an MP if he is convicted, provided the higher court stays his sentence within 90 days. But he will have to spend time in jail if convicted. Also, it does not solve the problems of the party, which needs him the most now because the Lok Sabha polls are round the corner,” said a senior RJD leader.
Most RJD leaders remained tight-lipped over the ordinance. “Speaking on it would amount to admitting even before the judgment is delivered that Laluji would be convicted,” said a senior MLA of the party. He, however, said the ordinance would bring relief to every politician facing the wrath of “judicial activism”.
RJD MP Prabhunath Singh termed the ordinance an eyewash. “Cases in which the sentence is stayed by higher courts are very few. The ordinance should have allowed the politicians to contest polls until the Supreme Court upholds the conviction,” he said.
Citing the instance of former MP Pappu Yadav who was in jail for over a decade in connection with the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar, he said: “The high court ultimately acquitted him but he had to spend a long period in jail.”
The RJD leaders also appeared to be weary about the stand of the Congress in Bihar. “The Congress has been playing games with both the JD(U) and the RJD. It has been more than generous to the Nitish government in the recent past. By bringing in the ordinance, they have given signals that they still consider us an ally,” said another RJD MLA.
With both the JD(U) and the RJD-LJP alliance vying for the Muslim votes, the alliance with the Congress can prove vital for either side.
The JD(U), which has got friendly overtures from the Congress, is treading cautiously. The state president of the JD(U), Bashishtha Narayan Singh, had said before the ordinance was cleared that the government should have gone for a debate and discussed the issue with all the parties.