Lalu Yadav, the charismatic leader who was sentenced to a jail term for corruption, has become active ahead of the Bihar assembly elections in October-November this year. Since Hemant Soren led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha came to power in Jharkhand, where Lalu is jailed, the administration became very lenient towards RJD chief. He is being allowed to carry out political activity from jail and capitalizing on this, Lalu is managing the party’s campaign for the upcoming assembly elections.
“See @HemantSorenJMM Ji, you are trying to cover up the misdeeds to prisoner No. 3351 [Yadav] and now your own officer has shown you the mirror. How many more proofs you want? Do justice with convicted @Laluprasadrjd and send him back to Hotwar jail that he deserves,” tweeted Bihar minister and JD (U) spokesman Neeraj Kumar.
Previously, Ranchi jail inspector general Birendra Bhushan wrote to the deputy commissioner Chhavi Ranjan that Lalu Yadav is repeatedly violating jail manual and standard operating procedure.
Lalu remains the point of contact for all RJD leaders who want a ticket from the party because he has the final say in ticket distribution even though he cannot fight an election himself. The jailed leader is managing ticket distribution as well as crafting out a strategy for the election, as he did in the 2015 assembly election as well.
His party is a member of the JMM led ruling alliance that came to power in the November 2019 elections. Congress, which is also a member of the ruling alliance in Jharkhand, is fighting the election with RJD as part of ‘grand alliance’ and Lalu Yadav is leading this alliance. Hemant Soren, who led the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance in Jharkhand, has given RJD members full access to jailed RJD chief.
“How could a convicted person hold meetings inside the prison. If a person convicted of corruption charges gets political patronage, it is also a crime. The hands of the law are long,” asked JD(U) leader Neeraj Kumar. “The RJD-friendly government in Jharkhand did not do anything to Lalu’s eldest son Tej Pratap Yadav when he went to Ranchi on 26 August with 50 cars, stayed more than two hours in the bungalow with his father and then had a scuffle with RIMS (staff who stay at the bungalow),” he added.
The RJD leaders are justifying Lalu Yadav’s political activities in jail based on his “demand”. “Some adore him, some abhor him, but nobody can ignore him. That is incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad. He is the pivot around which RJD revolves. He is a mass leader. What is wrong with it. Despite being in jail, he stays in demand and that is what he has earned. Neeraj will take a long time to understand Lalu,” said an RJD leader as per a report by Hindustan Times.
Lalu Yadav was first shifted to the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) on medical conditions and later he was given a bungalow when he complained about poor hygiene at the ward. Now BJP and JD(U) leaders are asking that Lalu should be shifted back to Birsa Central jail which has adequate medical facilities for his treatment. “By shifting Lalu to a bungalow, the Soren government has made it easier for Lalu to meet ticket aspirants, who are making a beeline from Bihar. He has collected the biodata of over 200 ticket aspirants already. But it violates the prison norms,” said Shushil Modi, senior BJP leader.
The norm of special treatment towards the politicians and socially influential persons is not only immoral but illegal, too. The Soren government must not abuse power and treat Lalu just like any other person who is corrupt and serving a jail sentence.