Rabri Devi, former chief minister and wife of RJD president Lalu Prasad, feels the Supreme Court order vindicates the party stand that his incarceration was the result of political conspiracy. Excerpts:
You must be relieved?
I am happy Laluji has got bail. We have been saying all along that there was no evidence against him. Lalu is the most charismatic leader in Bihar. His rivals fear his presence. They wanted to shut him out of politics, but failed.
Who is your main rival, the JD(U) or the BJP?
Our direct fight will be with the BJP. The JD(U) has now been relegated to number five position in Bihar. Chief minister Nitish Kumar is no more a factor in state politics.
So what is on your agenda now?
Our immediate concern is to lead the party into the next elections. With him in jail, the BJP and the JD-U thought the party would be an easy prey.
Is the party thinking of allying with the Congress, despite its rout in the recent assembly elections?
We were always open to that suggestion. It is for the Congress to initiate. As for its rout, a set of factors were responsible including state dynamics and anti-incumbency. The Lok Sabha will be a different ball game. The electoral dynamics of a proper alliance in Bihar will halt the BJP’s march to Delhi.
There have been issues within the RJD’s top leadership.
There are no leadership issues in the RJD. Divergent views exist but decisions are always taken by a larger group.
What will be your advantage should Lalu be able to campaign in the next Lok Sabha elections?
He will galvanise the people like never before. As I see it, Bihar is in for a three or even four-way fight. A three-cornered fight in Delhi pared the BJP and left it unable to form a government.
You never went to meet Lalu in jail...
He is my husband. He is always in my heart.