RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh visits Jagannath Mishra at RIMS in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Oct. 1: Two former Bihar chief ministers were convicted on Monday in the fodder scam. One man’s wife is in the public eye, but that of another isn’t.
As Rabri Devi, “proxy” former Bihar chief minister and RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s most trusted lieutenant at home and work, refuses to accept the CBI court’s verdict and wants to mobilise party workers in Patna, homely Bina Mishra, the better half of former Bihar chief minister Jagannath Mishra, prays in Ranchi.
Three-time chief minister of Bihar and former Union minister for agriculture, 76-year-old Mishra, once a Congress strongman is now in political wilderness and an unfamiliar name with the Facebook and Twitter generation.
But this was not always so. Mishra was once one of the most charismatic and erudite political figures of his day. A follower of Vinoba Bhave, a young Mishra crusaded for the landless and gave up most of his inherited acres, got a doctorate in public finance and wrote scholarly books on Bihar’s development.
Now, frail, ailing and convicted, Mishra’s stunning fall from grace says a lot about the perils in slippery corridors of power.
Bina, married for 53 years, knows the meaning of partnership “for better or worse”.
Away from media glare, the Patna resident is now staying at a Ranchi hotel. Her husband, sent to Birsa jail after his conviction in the fodder scam case RC 20A/96, was shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, cottage No. 13, when the severely diabetic septuagenarian started feeling unwell. On Tuesday evening, he was transferred to cottage No. 11.
“He underwent a surgery in August. I am here because I want to stay by the side of my ailing husband during these tough times,” she said.
Her son Nitish is a Bihar Cabinet minister in the JD(U) government. Her husband sought a comeback with the same party. “I was never interested in joining politics,” she replies to the obvious question. “I am blessed with six children, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. I have always devoted myself to the family,” she said.
What is her take on the verdict? “Who is the final judge?” she asks gently. “God. I will wait for his judgment,” she says, her eyes welling up.