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Rahul meets Lalu at AIIMS ahead of transfer to Ranchi hospital

The meeting between the Congress and RJD chiefs indicates growing bonhomie between the two parties in view of the upcoming general elections. Lalu Prasad had earlier requested the AIIMS director to not transfer him to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences under “political pressure”.

india Updated: Apr 30, 2018 20:55 IST
Arun Kumar
Arun Kumar
Hindustan Times, Patna
Rahul Gandhi,Lalu Prasad,Congress
Congress president Rahul Gandhi meets Lalu Prasad at AIIMS hospital in New Delhi. (ANI Photo)

PATNA Congress president Rahul Gandhi met ailing Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi on Monday morning, hours before he was transferred to a Ranchi hospital.

A photograph tweeted by party strategist Sanjay Yadav showed Gandhi and Prasad holding hands. The accompanying caption read: “True leaders know who they are and what they stand for.”

The image seemed to suggest that the two had put behind alleged misunderstandings of the past to herald a reinforced bond ahead of the 2019 general elections. The post was later retweeted from Prasad’s handle.

Rajya Sabha MP Manoj Jha termed the meeting as a new beginning. “Time demands likeminded people to come onto one platform. Laluji’s deteriorating health condition is a matter of utmost concern not only for his family, but everybody who wants him to be fit and active for the 2019 elections. We believe Rahulji also shares the same concern,” he said.

Jha went on to term the decision to shift the former Bihar chief minister back to the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) at Ranchi as an “unprecedented low” in politics.

In a letter sent to the AIIMS director, Prasad had accused the medical institute of transferring him to RIMS “under political pressure”. This contention also found reflection in a tweet by Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, his son and opposition leader in the Bihar assembly, who asked: “Who is forcing the AIIMS director to send him back?”

Jha said the party leader was still in need of continuous care and attention. “That is what he was at AIIMS for. Any decision that affects Laluji’s health will only go to show that the present-day government is acting with a mischievous design,” he added.

Prasad reportedly wrote to the AIIMS director because he had an inkling of the decision to transfer him. “I have been told that steps are afoot to discharge me from AIIMS. I was sent here for better treatment, and I’m still not well. I suffer from heart disease, kidney problem, sugar and a host of other ailments. I suffer from back pain and I often feel giddy. I fell in the bathroom quite a few times. My blood pressure and sugar suddenly jumps. My treatment here is still on,” he said in the letter.

The former chief minister further claimed that RIMS was unequipped to treat kidney ailments. “It is the fundamental right of every citizen to avail medical treatment that meets his satisfaction. I don’t know under what political pressure this sudden decision to remove me is being taken. As you are well aware, I am under custody and it takes 16 hours by train to reach Ranchi. Doctors are next to God, and they should not take any such decision under pressure.”

Prasad ended the letter by stating that if he were to come under any danger due to the transfer from AIIMS to RIMS, the “responsibility will rest on all of you”.

AIIMS had decided to transfer the 69-year-old politician to the Ranchi institute after a medical board confirmed a marked improvement in his condition. “Lalu Prasad is being referred back to Ranchi for management of his chronic issues. He is currently stable and fit to travel,” it said in a statement.

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In a letter sent to the AIIMS director, Prasad accused the medical institute of transferring him to RIMS “under political pressure”

First Published: Apr 30, 2018 17:43 IST