Lalu turns 70, ‘chote bhai’ Nitish tells him ‘you are as enthusiastic as ever’
A tired-looking RJD chief, facing a revival of the Fodder scam cases of the 1990s, chose his birthday to declare he would henceforth dedicate himself to the cause of the Indian nation.india Updated: Jun 12, 2017 19:26 IST
PATNA Though looking a little tired, RJD chief Lalu Prasad presented himself at his 10, Circular road western Patna residence here on Sunday to meet hundreds of his supporters jostling to greet their leader with bouquet in hand, on the occasion of his 70th birthday.
It was an eventful day for Prasad, who, in the morning, attended the inauguration of two mega bridges of the state in the company of chief minister Nitish Kumar and younger son cum deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. But by noon, he was heading for home for the celebrations.
“I am 70 now. I have come a long way. I will now dedicate myself to the service of the nation for rest of my life,” Prasad said at the event.
With exhaustion writ large on Prasad’s face, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, referred in terms of the longstanding relations between the two leaders as ‘chote bhai’, had a heart-warming compliment for ‘bade bhai’ Lalu. “You don’t look 70. You look as enthusiastic and passionate as you were in your student days”, he said.
This was recall of the time when the two had started their political careers as student leaders and took part in the Jaya Prakash Narayan-led movement in 1974. Kumar was among the first to call on the RJD chief in the morning to extend his greetings on his birthday .
Insiders said the RJD chief was tired after having stayed at Ranchi for the last few days due to his court appearance related to re-opening of fodder scam cases of the 1990s against him, following a recent supreme court verdict.
Prasad and his family members have also been under attack from BJP leader Sushil Modi, who accused them of amassing unexplained property worth Rs 1,000 crore.
However, a highlight of the celebration was the cake cutting ceremony. At 12.30 pm, a bunch of party supporters brought in a big cake, weighing seventy pounds to match Prasad’s age and layers of cream in green in tune with colour of the RJD flag.
Prasad’s wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi also came out to greet the RJD chief and accept the greetings from the visitors, including ministers.
“I have wished Laluji and may he live for long,” said Rabri, adding, no special food preparation had been made for the day. “Whatever Laluji would want to eat, we will prepare instantly,” she said, with a chuckle.
Prasad’s elder son and health minister Tej Pratap – who had gone on short trip to Vrindavan for some religious rituals - was also seen extending greetings to his father. Senior leaders like West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee and Congress’ top leaders had also sent their birthday greetings to the RJD chief, source said.
Earlier, there was a small family event at mid night on Saturday, when Prasad cut a cake with his children, younger son Tejashwi and daughter Ragini. Incidentally, his eldest daughter Misa Bharti was conspicuous by her absence as she was ‘out of station’.
I am 70 now. I have come a long way. I will now dedicate myself to the service of the nation for rest of my life
Lalu Prasad, RJD president