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Bovine bliss before fodder dawn

Lalu Prasad in front of the AC cowshed on Sunday. Picture by Ashok Sinha

Patna, Sept. 29: Threatened with jail in the fodder scam, Lalu Prasad today sought the “blessings” of his favourite cows.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief stopped at his air-conditioned khatal (cowshed) on his way to catch a flight to Ranchi, where a CBI court will tomorrow deliver its verdict in one of the six fodder cases against him.

If convicted, he could be jailed for up to seven years, legal experts said.

Party sources said their leader “found peace” in the midst of his 72 Jersey cows and 42 calves. When he was chief minister, Lalu Prasad kept cows at his official residence.

Now, the cowshed has been shifted to a three-acre farmhouse in Danapur, on Patna’s outskirts, and supplies milk to leading hotels and restaurants in the state capital.

Lalu Prasad arrived around 11.45am and spent nearly half an hour in the cowshed.

“Laluji is very fond of his cows. He ensured that he fed them before leaving for Ranchi. He offered fodder to five cows, whom he worships as gau-mata, and two calves and took their blessings,” a source said.

Younger son Tejaswi, who is expected to lead the party if Lalu Prasad is jailed, and former minister Anwar Ahmad accompanied him to the cowshed. The RJD chief stopped at two places to wave to supporters but didn’t make speeches.

Aides said the usually chirpy politician had been subdued since morning. A known fish lover, he had a vegetarian lunch.

He then left quietly, ensuring there was no slogan-shouting by supporters outside his 10 Circular Road home or at the airport from where he caught an IndiGo flight at 2.15pm.

In Ranchi, he emerged from the plane yawning, mopped his face with a red handkerchief and, with typical nonchalance, told journalists not to “run hither-thither” but to “take rest and let the judge and me rest too”.

Judge Prabas Kumar Singh is expected to deliver his verdict at 10.30am on charges of fraudulent withdrawals from the Chaibasa treasury during Lalu Prasad’s tenure as chief minister of undivided Bihar in the 1990s.

 


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