New Delhi, Apr 21 : The tryst with destiny cannot be postponed forever. The politics of Bihar has been the story of Lalu Prasad Yadav and his political machinations for decades. Not surprisingly, the RJD supremo
has always taken pride in it.
One time national president of Janata Dal – much before the socialist outfit suffered numerous splits – Lalu Prasad almost thought he would make it as Prime Ministerial aspirant. But there was the end of the road!
First the debacle came in 2005 – twice in the calendar year and it was his sheer pressure tactics on the Manmohan Singh government that elections were imposed on Bihar within six months. In November 2005 polls, RJD’s defeat was clear and vocal. Since then, Nitish Kumar, a bitter rival, has not looked back.
But the icing on the cake is that the ‘Battle of Bihar in 2019’ would be the first election without Lalu in the scene!
It goes without saying that the minority and OBC communities contributed majorly and consistently to give him the political strength.
The minority and OBC communities with 25-27 per cent of votes have consistently backed him and made him the indispensable force in Bihar – both prior to the creation of Jharkhand and after that.
A closer look at the elections in Bihar – prior to division in 2000 and also later – have affirmed that in two decades and more, the central figure of state politics has been Lalu Prasad. It is worth mentioning to point out that the combination of political parties that associate with him or oppose him may have changed, but he has remained the undisputed principal factor in the contests throughout.
The former Bihar Chief Minister in the entire period remained an admired political protagonist even among bitter political rivals for his charismatic and mass appeal. “Bihar can be bifurcated only on my dead body,” was one example of rhetoric mannerism when he wanted to oppose carving out of the state.
Looking back, analysing his politics and the manner he conducted himself , it may be mentioned that Lalu Prasad’s face had an impression of a extra-ordinary rustic look suiting his image and more importantly his political constituency.
In the rest of India or in big cities, while people of all political hues struggled to present themselves as sophisticated and intelligent, do not forget, Lalu preferred to play a “gaon ke aadmi (a rustic and simpleton)”. Lalu had even promised to “make Bihar roads shine like actress Hemamalini’s cheeks”. Lalu’s mannerism and inherent ‘acceptance’ by media and the political constituency often leads one to ponder - which one is more ridiculous: to appear a fool or to pretend to be smart!
A host of internet jokes surfaced on him involving global personalities like former US President Bill Clinton and former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf. Character actor Paresh Rawal, now a BJP leader, has already acted in a film emulating Lalu while another film starring Sunil Shetty was named after him.
Film maker Prakash Jha-made ‘Gangajal’ depicted politically-motivated violence under his rule and ironically the negative protagonist of the film is named after his brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav. Lalu also created his virtues in key aspects like governance and when fodder scam came chasing him during the stint of I K Gujral as Prime Minister, Lalu rather selfishly imposed his wife Rabri Devi as Bihar’s Chief Minister.
His political detractors like Sushil Modi has said that the father of two sons and seven daughters, Lalu had even made his ‘large family’ a platform to make frontal attack on Indira Gandhi’s forced ‘sterilisation programme’ – Nasbandi - during the Emergency.
Opposing the draconian and harsh laws of the time, he even named his eldest daughter ‘Misa Bharati’ after the infamous Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) enacted during Emergency between 1975-77. In 2019, he is not in regular political war-cry and his absence is being missed a lot by RJD-Congress-RLSP alliance at a critical time of history when these parties and others are solely focused on dethroning ‘another master of populism’ Narendra Modi. UNI