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HindustanTimes Mon,21 Apr 2014

With Lalu as prisoner No.3312, Birsa jail is centre of RJD politics

B Vijay Murty, Hindustan Times  Ranchi, October 01, 2013
First Published: 19:07 IST(1/10/2013) | Last Updated: 01:44 IST(2/10/2013)

Convicted in the fodder scam and lodged in the Birsa Munda Central Jail, Ranchi, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief, Lalu Prasad Yadav is getting all the facilities a VIP prisoner gets as per the jail manual. As per the jail record, he is prisoner number 3312.

The jail has also become the epicentre of RJD politics ever since Lalu was convicted in the multi-crore fodder scam and sent there on Monday.

No less than 50 top RJD leaders, including sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap, have visited Lalu in the jail since Monday afternoon. Among other things, plans and strategies to strengthen the party in the current political scenario and the forthcoming general elections were discussed.

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There were reports that Lalu’s wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi could not visit Ranchi due to inclement weather – it’s raining heavily in Ranchi since the last three days.

Prominent among those who called on Lalu this morning were RJD’s Maharajganj MP Prabhunath Singh, senior MP Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, party’s general secretary Ram Kripal Yadav, vice president Raghunath Jha and leader of opposition in the Bihar assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui.

They left the jail singing their leader’s praises. Prabhunath Singh said Lalu was a kingmaker and would remain so in the future. “His personality and charisma will not be affected by his imprisonment,” he said.

Ram Kripal Yadav said Lalu is in good health and unaffected by his conviction. “He has asked us to go to Patna and hold meetings with the party workers to plan for the Lok Sabha polls,” Yadav said.

Siddiqui said the BJP and JD(U) were conspiring against Lalu. “But Lalu will come out victorious,” he said.

The leaders vehemently declined any differences in the party over leadership issue. They said they have no hesitation in accepting Rabri or Tejashwi as their acting chief and that the party remains united in this hour of crisis.

Tejaswi had said on Monday, “The party is run by the workers. I am also a worker. Hence, the question of selecting a new leader doesn’t arise.”

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