What lies in store for the Rashtriya Janata Dal, now that its creator Lalu Prasad is behind bars? Senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad Singh — who stayed away from Sunday’s party meeting convened at Patna to decide the future strategy — says there is neither a succession war nor a leadership crisis in the party.
He also alleges that there is a conspiracy to target leaders who espouse the cause of the backward and downtrodden. Excerpts:
RJD decided on Sunday that Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi will jointly lead the party. What is your response to the development?
I have no reaction. All I can say is that there is no vacuum in the RJD leadership. We expect that Prasad will be out on bail shortly. If a minister or MP is out of the country, does he get replaced? A jailed leader cannot run a government, but the affairs of a party can very well be run from inside the jail.
Reports suggest that the RJD is on the verge of a split.
Our detractors are nursing such false hopes. The party is today far more energised. All party workers have imbibed Prasad’s fighting spirit and courage. Every RJD worker is today a Lalu.
On the day the party leaders met in Patna to decide the future course of action after Prasad’s conviction, you are in Delhi. Is this likely to send wrong signals?
Why should this be so? I came to Delhi to attend a parliamentary standing committee meeting and have been unwell for the past few days.
So, the RJD will go to the electorate by claiming that Prasad has been framed? Does the RJD support corruption?
It seems no coincidence that leaders fighting for the cause of the poor and downtrodden are being singled out on corruption charges. Leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav, Mayawati, A Raja and Prasad. Why this selected targeting?
So, you do feel that the Congress could have bailed out Prasad? Leaders of all political parties agreed on the need to upturn the Supreme Court verdict on convicted lawmakers. Later, to save Congress leader Rasheed Masood, the government decided to bring an ordinance. The BJP and JD (U) took a U-turn, when they realised that Prasad could be convicted.
You do feel there was a conspiracy against Prasad?
Some leaders have been selectively targeted. In the fodder scam, allegations have been leveled against JD (U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Shivanand Tiwari. Why has the CBI not investigated these leaders?