Gloom in RJD, Lalu consulting astrologers ahead of court verdict

With the CBI designated court in Ranchi slated to deliver its verdict in a fodder scam case involving Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad on Monday, a pall of gloom has descended on the party camp with leaders keeping their fingers crossed.

Prasad would be leaving for Ranchi on Sunday by an afternoon flight.

There was flurry of activity at 10, Circular Road residence of the RJD chief on Saturday with a host of party leaders and close aides coming to meet Prasad, who remained busy in offering puja throughout the day.

Prasad has been consulting astrologers and pundits since the fodder scam case, RC 20 (A)/96, entered its last leg. He also visited many temples in central India, including the Sai Baba shrine at Shirdi (in Maharashtra) a few months back.

"We are keeping our fingers crossed. We have faith on God," said a close aide of the RJD chief. The RJD chief was incarcerated here in 1997 in connection with the case and again spent a few months in prison in Ranchi in another fodder scam case in early 2000.

Family members of the RJD chief, including wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, sons Tej Pratap and Tejaswi and other close aides would accompany Prasad to Ranchi.

Congress national vice president Rahul Gandhifs stand on the controversial ordinance allowing convicted politicians to retain their membership in assembly and parliament has come as a big blow to the RJD rank and file, were expecting to benefit from it in case Prasad got an adverse verdict.

Meanwhile, insiders said there had been no formal decision on whether a core committee would be formed to look after the party affairs in case the verdict goes against Prasad. Senior leaders said the party would be working collectively in Prasadfs absence.


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