Patna, Oct. 22: LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag today met Rabri Devi in a show of solidarity, a day after RJD chief Lalu Prasad was disqualified from the Lok Sabha.
“We shall stand with the RJD. The LJP will not do anything that hurts the RJD,” Paswan told Rabri during his 20-minute session with her.
Rabri was visibly downcast but hordes of party leaders, including party general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav and chief whip in the Assembly Samrat Choudhary, were there with Rabri.
“Duniya dekh raha hai ki Lalu ji ke sath kya ho raha hai (The world is watching what is happening with Laluji),” Rabri said.
“Conspirators have caged the poor people’s soul in the jail. We are sure the poor Bihar masses would avenge the act,” she said.
The Lok Sabha secretariat’s notice to disqualify the RJD boss offered the RJD cadre one more chance to show their unity. Besides Rabri, all the senior RJD leaders — Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Jagadanand and Prabhunath Singh — asserted that Lalu would continue to be their torchbearer from behind the bars.
Despite the show of solidarity, life without Lalu is proving to be tough for the RJD. It was perceived that Rabri Devi would “look after” the party in his absence. But she is yet to venture out of 10 Circular Road.
A Chhath devotee, Rabri said: “I shall fan out in the state’s hinterlands after the Chhath festival to apprise people of the injustice meted out to Laluji.”
RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav said: “We are planning a series of public meetings across the state for her after Chhath.”
Several RJD leaders are keeping their fingers crossed over Rabri’s public speeches. “Now, the party has its back to the wall. The tone and tenure of the public speeches required now have to be different from the ones she delivered earlier. Her speech must be aimed at keeping the morale of the workers high,” said a former RJD MP.
Rabri today displayed controlled aggression when she expressed hope that the Congress would eventually forge alliance with the RJD. “The Congress high command is watching how the people are under the spell of anger on the treatment meted out to Laluji,” she said, asserting that Lalu had got L.K. Advani arrested when he tried to push his communal agenda in Bihar. “Does chief minister Nitish Kumar has the temerity to stop Narendra Modi from the mission to petrify the minorities?” she asked.
Not just Rabri, the formal announcement to disqualify Lalu saddened a large section of the electorate in his Saran Lok Sabha seat. But the people by and large appeared determined not to accept anyone as their leader other than Lalu.
Despite the solidarity and emotion shown by his party cadre and supporters in Saran, the RJD boss appears to be heading for an innings quite unusual to his style of politics. Those who have watched Lalu from close quarters know that he relishes contesting polls more than anything else.
It is for the first time that Lalu is saddled with the ominous possibility of not entering in the poll arena for the next 11 years.