Rashtriya Janata Dal ( RJD) on Sunday tried to put a lid to all speculations of appointing any no 2 or successor of party's jailed president Lalu Prasad by rare show of unity to reinforce that Prasad would remain their supreme leader.
Chairing the meeting, former chief minister Rabri Devi too played safe on succession issues while expressing her ire over the media for raising a controversy over who would helm the party after Lalu's incarceration in a fodder scam case early this week.
“ Today's meeting was called to send out a message that Lalu Prasad has been put behind the bars in the fodder scam case out of political conspiracy. He is innocent and the party would work unitedly to face the challenge,” she said.
“Why are you so bothered about the question: who after Lalu? Laluji is there and will remain the party’s president”, she told reporters present at her residence.
The party also issued a resolution to work unitedly as per its policies and principles under the leadership of its president.
“Lalu Prasad is our leader and he will remain so. There is no vacancy at the top,” party's senior leader and Buxar MP, Jagdanand Singh said at the meeting even as party's another tall leader and Maharajganj MP, Prabhunath Singh in his fiery style of oratory said there was a no succession dispute within the party, calling it more a media hype. Both the leader along with the old guard in the party claimed the party would not face any desertions, as being speculated by their rivals.
“Where is a the dispute in the party and where is the question of successor in the party,” he asked, while exhorting party workers to translate their anger over Lalu's incarceration to barood( explosive).
Amid the rhetoric of unity, there was an underlying message that the party was more keen to adopt the 'collective leadership formula in Lalu's absence but power would remain Lalu's own family with his wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi would be second most important face in the party.
Jagdanand Singh said there were ' galaxy of leaders to lead the party with Lalu as senapati' while the Maharajganj MP dubbed Rabri Devi and her two sons , Taj Pratap and Tejaswias also 'leaders who were trying to make the party strong'. Lalu's two sons, incidentally, remained at the backstage in an apparent bid to rest speculations of any power struggle within the party and family, insider said.
Incidentally, Vaisali MP Raghuvnash Prasad Singh, who is said to unhappy with the proposition of Rabri as a new leader, was conspicuous by his absence. Party officials said he was unwell. The meeting was attended by almost all the leaders and party functionaries including former MPs like M A Fatmi, Seemanchal strongman Taslimuddin, former minister Illiyas Hussain and senior leaders, A B Siddiqui and Ram Kripal Yadav.