Wednesday was just another day when RJD patriarch Lalu Prasad had only four hours of sleep. “I am racing against time. I have less time due to festivals. There is so much to cover.”
The sixty-four-year-old is averaging eight meetings a day. It sounds hectic, but he is stretching his indomitable energy to the extreme. For, Bihar elections begin next week.
“I have just come after addressing eight public meetings. There is a wave for the RJD-LJP (Ramvilas Paswan’s outfit) combine. And the results will be quite surprising,” he claimed at a meeting here on Tuesday.
But Prasad showed signs of exhaustion. As photographers, supporters and leaders jostled to share frames with him, he screamed: “Peechhe hatiye, jaiye (Step back. Go away).”
Turnouts in Prasad’s meetings, including Wednesday’s rally at Shaur Bazaar in Saharsa district, look impressive. But the RJD faced poll debacles in the past despite having huge turnouts. “Let’s see how it goes this time,” said Randhir Yadav, one of the core team overseeing RJD’s electioneering.
Prasad himself seems aware of the high political stake in this election, as his party is pitted against the JD(U)-led National Democratic Alliance, riding high on the development plank.
In fact, Prasad has changed his style of functioning a lot. These days, he is not staying for long in his 10, Circular Road residence and spends time at the houses of his close aides to dodge ticket seekers. He is being choosy.
After a glass of water, Prasad starts on his arch rival and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “Nitish has fooled everybody. Those who propped him to power are now feeling betrayed. The so-called development in Bihar is all sham.”
Some things have not changed. He has not stopped chewing his trademark khaini (raw tobacco) and paan (betel leaves). This time, however, Prasad is addressing meetings alone.