Rabri Devi at the meeting on Sunday. Picture by Deepak Kumar
Patna, Oct. 6: Rabri Devi today indicated she would return to active politics, telling an RJD meeting that she had “never been out of it”.
“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,” she told the meeting amid slogans in favour of husband and jailed RJD chief Lalu Prasad.
Immediately after Lalu Prasad was convicted in a fodder scam case and sent to jail last week, speculation was rife over the search for a successor in the RJD. There was talk of making Rabri Devi national working president, but Lalu Prasad desisted from making any such move apprehending it would send wrong signals.
Today, Rabri Devi was cheered continuously during her 10-minute speech at the meeting that saw around 800 RJD leaders stage a solidarity show amid declarations that Lalu Prasad’s conviction would be a key campaign plank in next year’s Lok Sabha polls.
“We shall go to every village and expose the conspiracy to frame Laluji,” Rabri Devi declared at the meeting at her residence here.
Apart from Rabri Devi, other family members maintained a low profile at the meeting that lasted over three hours.
Sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi were in the back seats and did not speak.
Senior leaders Abdul Bari Siddiqui, Prabhunath Singh, Jagdanand Singh and Ram Kripal Yadav were seated in the front row.
The meeting adopted a resolution saying Lalu Prasad would remain the chief of the party.
“The party will run under the leadership of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi,” said state unit chief Ram Chandra Purbey.
Conceding that it was a difficult time, Rabri Devi asked the party leaders and cadre not to be disappointed. “They should remain united. The party will not split.”
The focus, Rabri Devi said, will now be on a CBI affidavit to be submitted on November 22 on a plea asking for notices to be served on current chief minister Nitish Kumar and his senior JD(U) colleagues Shivanand Tiwari and Lallan Singh in connection with the fodder scam.
The leaders assured workers that the verdict of the CBI special court would be challenged in the high court and, if necessary, in the apex court. Almost every leader harped on unity and accused the BJP —part of the current ruling coalition until a few months ago — and Nitish of “framing Laluji”.
A message from Lalu Prasad, lodged in Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Jail, was read out at the meeting. He appealed to party workers to celebrate the festival season in an atmosphere of social and communal harmony.
Before leaving, some of the leaders chanted: “Jail ka phatak tootega, Lalu Yadav chhutega (jail doors will break, Lalu will be free).