Patna, Oct. 1: The JD(U)ís muted reaction to Lalu Prasadís conviction in the fodder scam was strategic.
The party leaders said they did not want to give statements against Lalu and antagonise a large section of voters (read the Yadavs). ďWe have learnt lessons from the past. Earlier, when Lalu went to jail, we used to celebrate and issue strong statements. The result was Lalu emerged stronger after elections. We have realised that votes matter more than his conviction,Ē said a senior JD(U) leader.
Yesterday, when the Ranchi CBI court announced Laluís conviction, chief minister Nitish Kumar refused to make any comment. JD(U) national president Sharad Yadav came out with an innocuous statement about having to pay for past deeds. The party MP, Shivanand Tiwari, said the conviction would not affect the vote bank of Lalu and added that the verdict would not help in curbing corruption. The state president of the party, Bashishtha Narayan Singh, spoke about the need to clean up politics.
The RJDís core vote bank comprises the Muslims and the Yadavs, constituting 30 per cent of the total voters. While the JD(U) is eyeing the Muslim votes, it is, at the same time, jittery over the BJPís effort to get the Yadav votes.
ďThe Yadav votes are almost on a par with the Muslim votes. The Yadavs vote aggressively. We do not want to do anything which would result into them voting aggressively against us. Even before Laluís conviction, Nitish has been careful in selecting words against the former chief minister. He did not even take Laluís name,Ē said another JD(U) MP.
The JD(U) is also tight-lipped on the conviction two party leaders ó former chief minister Jagannath Mishra and Jehanabad MP Jagdish Sharma. The studied silence of Dal on them has triggered posers in political circles on the partyís claim to have zero tolerance against corruption.
Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh, the JD(U) MP of Munger, was the only petitioner from the erstwhile Samata Party, who fought the legal battle right till the end in the fodder case. Even during the Supreme Court case in which Lalu had petitioned for a change of the CBI Ranchi court judge, Singh brought ace lawyer Shanti Bhushan to argue the case.
ďLalu got help (in carrying out the fodder scam) even when the NDA government was in power at the Centre. The income tax departmentís request to raid Laluís 1 Aney Marg home was lying with the Union finance minister for six months. When the permission was granted and the I-T raided Laluís residence, only two saris were found. It was obvious that Lalu was tipped off. I shall disclose other such information later and ask questions to certain leaders,Ē he said.