The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Praise mother, please Laloo

Patna, Oct. 29: Want to appease the social justice ‘god’' Then worship his mother.

So far, Bihar’s politicians have been just lionising their boss. Now, they are competing with each other to deify Laloo Prasad Yadav’s mother who, they say, has virtually “gifted” the state two chief ministers.

In a sprawling, temporal tribute, a guesthouse that has come up in the capital city will be named after Marchchia Devi, the woman who gave birth to the ‘Krishna’ of Yadav politics and got him married to a future chief minister.

The guesthouse, in Naubatpur, built by Rabri Devi’s power minister Shyam Rajak, a Dalit, will be thrown open to the public tomorrow. At least eight ministers, including the chief minister, will be present at the inauguration.

The invitation letter sent to the press eulogises Marchchia Devi as a woman who overcame her early days of struggle as an unknown housewife in remote Phulwarisharif to become a saint.

“Living as a humble housewife with husband Kundan Rai and passing days of hard labour and sacrifice, she gave birth to exploited and poor man’s deliverer Laloo Yadav on June 11, 1948. He is omnipresent in the world today with his aura,” the letter says.

Besides, “Mother Marchchia” got her son married to Rabri Devi in 1973. So she virtually “gifted “ two chief ministers to Bihar.

Dhanya hai Ma Marchchia Devi… Jinhe yug yug tak yaad rakha jaiga. (Blessed is Mother Marchchia Devi, her contribution will be stored in the collective memory of the people for years to come.)”

Rajak says he has built the guesthouse at a cost of Rs 14.96 lakh from his MLA’s fund. But why a guesthouse' Pat came the reply: poor villagers can use it for social functions as there are not too many halls where they can hold the marriages of their sons and daughters.

“The idea of dedicating the guesthouse in the name of the mother of Laloo Yadav is mine,” Rajak said. “It is because of her sanskar (culture) that a great son of Bihar like Laloo Yadav was born.”

Worldly reasons also played a role — the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief’s “omnipresent” aura, as the press invite says. While his followers wove myths around him, dancer and actress Sudha Chandran was the latest in the line of stars effusive in their praise of the Bihar strongman whenever they visit Patna.

RJD sources, however, say Marchchia Devi entered the Laloo Prasad folklore a long time back when her statue was installed at a crossing near Phulwarisharif. According to them, the people of Gopalgunge regard her as the mother of an avatar of Krishna.

As for the RJD boss, he, too, lived up to the image when he went on a campaign in a horse-drawn chariot. His associates say he was prompted to play Krishna to counter the BJP’s brand of Ram.

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