Rabri Devi meets Lalu Prasad at Ranchi hospital, their first meeting in 2 years
Former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi met her husband Lalu Prasad at Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) on Monday, her first meeting with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief in Ranchi since December 2017 when he was awarded the jail sentence.
The former CM, who was accompanied by her elder daughter Misa Bharti, also paid a courtesy visit to Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren at the state secretariat before leaving for Patna.
Rabri landed at Birsa Munda Airport here around 10.30 am straight from New Delhi where she recently underwent cataract surgery. She came to RIMS around 12.25 pm to see her ailing husband and spent more than two hours at the hospital.
Rabri and Lalu were seen talking at the corridor on the hospital’s first floor. She left for Jharkhand secretariat around 2.45 pm.
Associate professor, RIMS, DK Jha, who is treating Prasad, said that Rabri Devi enquired from him about the health of her husband, apart from his usual activities. Sources in the RIMS said Prasad demonstrated unusual agility in receiving his wife, who he was meeting after 621 days. Both of them had met last in May 2018 during the marriage of Tej Pratap in Patna.
“Contrary to his late routine, Prasad got up quite early, had bath and breakfast before she landed in Ranchi. Both of them looked quite happy with smile on their faces till the moment of Rabri’s departure,” said a constable guarding the cottage, adding that Rabri Devi inspected the premises where Prasad lived and the kitchen were Prasad’s food is cooked.
“His condition is stable now. His problem is chronic, not critical,” Dr Jha said on Lalu Prasad’s health.
At the state secretariat, Rabri Devi told media, “I met Lalu ji at the hospital. He is fine health-wise.” On meeting Soren, she said it was just a courtesy visit and she wanted to congratulate him on becoming the chief minister. “I gave him blessings to run the government successfully.”
Abhay Singh, state RJD chief who accompanied the former chief minister, said, “There was merely a discussion about Lalu ji’s health. No other discussion was held.”
Although it is not known what exactly transpired in their meeting, as they spent most of the time alone, it is believed Rabri Devi must have talked about the crisis the family is facing due to break-up of their son Tej Pratap’s marriage with Aishwaraya.Tej Pratap’s in-laws had also filed dowry and domestic violence cases against Rabri Devi and others.
Political observer L K Kundan, who teaches political science at Ranchi University, said, “It was not a normal visit. Lalu’s sons and daughters have been meeting him on regular basis. But she came for the first time. I believe family dispute and Bihar politics must have been discussed between them. Besides, she also met Hemant Soren, which, I think, was an attempt to explore JMM’s contribution to Bihar politics.”
Prasad has been serving jail term since December 23, 2017, after his conviction in three separate fodder scam cases one after another. Two months after his sentencing, he developed health complications. Prasad was first shifted to RIMS and then to All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He was sent back to RIMS after AIIMS declared him fit in May 2018.
Soon, Prasad got parole to attend his elder son’s wedding. He was then released on provisional bail granted by the high court for advance treatment at a Mumbai hospital.
He returned to RIMS in the end of August 2018. Since then, he is under treatment at RIMS where he is admitted to the paying ward which is equipped with air conditioner and other facilities.
Though Prasad has been suffering from many diseases, the primary concern is his ‘type 2’ diabetes and hypertension.