Lalu Prasad managed RJD poll plan from custody in Ranchi

Ranchi: Serving a 14-year jail term in the fodder scam cases, RJD chief Lalu Prasad seems to have managed his party’s poll planning -- by cementing its alliances and selecting its candidates -- while staying imprisoned in a Ranchi hospital. The former Bihar Chief Minister has been in judicial custody at the paying ward of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in neighbouring Jharkhand since August 30.

According to doctors, he is being treated for blood pressure, kidney problems and other ailments. Before the announcement of the elections, he sought bail from the Supreme Court on health grounds, but his petition was rejected. However, even under the hostile BJP government of Jharkhand, the RJD President seems to have taken advantage of Ranchi’s Birsa Munda Central Jail manual to evade scrutiny and guide his younger son Tejashwi Yadav, who now looks after the RJD affairs.

According to the jail manual, a prisoner can meet three persons every Saturday. Over the past 32 weeks, Lalu Prasad Yadav met 96 people, including Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) founder Sharad Yadav, former BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) President Upendra Kushwaha, former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) President Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Chatra RJD candidate Subhash Yadav and
some Congress leaders.

Tejashwi Yadav met him at least 10 times, while his eldest son Tej Pratap met him twice. Lalu Prasad’s wife Rabri Devi did not meet him even once. It was at these meetings that the seat sharing formula of the Gathbandhan partners in Bihar was finalised. After the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar even alleged that Lalu Prasad Yadav was managing his party’s election plan over the phone.

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