Rabri Devi at the RJD meet in Patna on Sunday. Picture by Deepak Kumar
Patna, Oct. 6: Around 800 RJD leaders today staged a solidarity show in the party meeting in which former chief minister Rabri Devi indicated that she would return to active politics.
Amid slogans in favour of the jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad, his wife, Rabri, said: “Discussions on who will run the party after Laluji are on. The party will function as it was functioning. There are people who say I have been out of Bihar politics. But I have never been out of it. I have always been with Laluji when he was not in jail.”
Rabri declared that her husband was innocent and would be out of the jail. “We shall go to every village and expose the conspiracy to frame Laluji,” said Rabri.
The RJD clarified it would make Lalu’s conviction an issue in the Lok Sabha polls.
Conceding that it was difficult times, she asked the party leaders and cadre not to be disappointed. “They should remain united. The party will not split,” said Rabri Devi, adding that the focus of the RJD would now be on the CBI affidavit to be submitted on November 22 on the alleged fodder scam money received by chief minister Nitish Kumar, JD(U) leaders Shivanand Tiwari and Lallan Singh.
Rabri was continuously cheered during her 10-minute speech at her official residence (10 Circular Road). Apart from Rabri, the other family members of Lalu maintained a low profile in the meeting. Leaders like Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Prabhunath Singh, Jagdanand Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav sat in the front row, while Lalu’s sons — Tej Pratap and Tejaswi sat behind. They did not even speak in the meeting, indicating that there would be no immediate change of guard in the party (read the sons coming to the forefront).
The RJD took a resolution that its convicted and jailed leader would remain the national party president. “The party will run under the leadership of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi,” said the state party president, Ram Chandra Purbey.
Immediately after Lalu was convicted and sent to jail on September 30, speculation was rife over search for a successor in the RJD. There was a thought of making Rabri the national working president of the party, but Lalu desisted from making any such move apprehending a panic in the party.
The party workers and leaders attending the meeting were given a message from Lalu in a Ranchi jail. He appealed to party workers to celebrate the festival season in an atmosphere of social and communal harmony.
The RJD leaders assured the party workers in the more than three-hour meeting that the verdict of the CBI court would be challenged in the high court and the apex court. Every leader harped on unity of the party and accused the BJP and chief minister Nitish Kumar of “framing of Laluji”.
Before leaving, the Lalu followers chanted the old slogan: “Jail ka phatak tootega, Lalu Yadav chhutega (jail doors will break, Lalu will be free).