After hemming and hawing for quite some time, Railway minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi finally made the move from 1, Anne Marg — their home for 15 years — to 10, Circular road on Thursday evening.
The day wasn’t without drama. Early on, a downcast Lalu announced that he’d shift only on Friday as “Basant Panchami has spilled over by two days, so I can’t help it”. But by evening, he opted to move out bag and baggage. “There are only cow dung and goats left here,” he said.
The move was bound to be nostalgic. “I ordered the arrest of L.K. Advani from this house. I had to change the plan twice because the plan leaked out. I made the final strategy from my room, got Advani arrested at Gandhi Setu and sent him to Samastipur so he couldn’t enter Patna with his rath in 1990,” Lalu reminisced. Holding his last press conference here, he described his stay at the house as “historic”.
Lalu recalled that “he had first given the call of social justice from here and even brought a social transformation by checking communal forces. I stopped Praveen Togadia at Patna airport from here. It’s now a different matter. Togadia has free access in Bihar because the BJP is in power”.
Showing irritation at being barraged with questions about how he felt, Lalu said: “Kaisa lag raha hai. Should I cry? Yes, I am sad and pained.”
The property has undergone a sea change from 15 years back. Lalu and Rabri have transformed it into a palatial home with a swimming pool, cow shed and even a mini assembly. Pointing to the outhouse, Lalu said: “This is where I used to hold durbars and take decisions.” The house has also seen many new traditions during Lalu’s stay — like his celebrating Kapra Phar Holi with his ministers, organising folk songs and dances like Chaita and Bidesia and performing Durga puja.
Interestingly, Lalu didn’t speak much about his difficult days here — like when the AHD scam broke in 1996; when I-T officials raided the house in 1997 or when he was sent to jail the same year.