Hope turns to despair at Rabri Devi’s Patna residence as Lalu gets 3.5 years in jail
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Hope turns to despair at Rabri Devi’s Patna residence as Lalu gets 3.5 years in jail

Tejashwi Yadav said appropriate steps would be taken after analysing the sentence.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2018 23:03 IST
Onlookers outside the special CBI court waiting for the pronouncement of quantum of punishment for former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad on the multi-crore fodder scam. (Hindustan Times)

The mood at former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi’s residence oscillated between hope and despair, as the CBI special court in Ranchi prepared to announce the quantum of punishment for incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Saturday afternoon.

A ripple of excitement spread through the party leaders, including Prasad’s son and leader of opposition Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and his mother Rabri Devi, when a media person ‘broke’ the news in the middle of party’s press conference that their leader had been given a three-year jail term.

Smiles appeared on the faces of those present, with some even standing up to applaud the verdict, terming it a ‘victory’ of the people. Unable to contain his excitement, Tejashwi said, this would mean he (Lalu) will be able to seek bail from the lower court.

Rabri Devi, sitting next to Tejashwi, engaged in an animated discussion with former Union minister Kanti Singh, a broad smile covering her face. Moments later, she called up Prasad’s counsel in Ranchi for details of the special court’s proceedings.

However, the excitement turned out to be short-lived. A sense of despondency descended on the gathering, as Sanjay Yadav, a close confidant of Tejashwi, said the jail term was of three and half years along with a fine of Rs 10 lakh.

Barely able to deal with the swing in mood, Tejashwi said appropriate steps would be taken after analysing the sentence. “The high court will be approached for bail,” he said, even as the young scion continued briefing the media.

Unaware about technical details of the sentence, party workers, however, viewed it as a relief for their leader and started shouting slogans in favour of Prasad.

“He (Lalu) will soon be with us, as he has been awarded only three year jail. The jail term will be of three years and six months only if he does not furnish the fine of Rs 10 lakh,” explained former minister Alok Mehta to the jubilant party workers, who started raising slogans like, “Jail ka tala tutega, Lalu Yadav chhutega.”

A huge poster of Prasad, portraying him as an avatar of Lord Krishna, was the centre of attraction for party workers. “There is striking similarity between Lord Krishna and Lalu Prasad. Both have spent parts of their lives in jail and both have fought against demons,” said Krishna Rai of Sota village in Madhupura.

Apparently enthused by the hope that Prasad would soon be with them, some party workers were seen discussing their plans to “shake up” Bihar and Jharkhand, if their leader was handed out an unreasonable quantum of punishment.

“People of Bihar are desperate to teach the JD(U) and BJP a lesson in the coming polls for their opportunistic politics,” said a worker, urging the media not to record their discussions. They would fan out into the interiors of Bihar and Jharkhand to take Prasad’s message to one and all, the supporters avowed.

Minutes after the CBI court pronounced jail term for him, Prasad tweeted, “Rather than practising BJP’s Simple Rule – “Follow us or We Will Fix you”. I will die happily fixing myself for Social Justice, harmony and equality.”

First Published: Jan 06, 2018 23:03 IST