Lalu Prasad appoints Rabri Devi as vice-president of RJD’s apex body
Party insiders believe Rabri Devi’s elevation in the national executive is a politically significant move intended to further empower her at a time when the RJD chief is lodged at Ranchi jail.patna Updated: Feb 07, 2018 19:10 IST
Incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad has appointed his wife, Rabri Devi, as the vice-president of the party’s newly created national executive.
Rabri Devi, a former chief minister of Bihar, shares the position with party leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Shivanand Tiwary, Illiyas Hussain and Magni Lal Mandal. Their children – Tej Pratap, Tejashwi and Misa Bharti – have also been granted membership of the apex body.
Party insiders believe Rabri Devi’s elevation was a politically significant move intended to further empower her in the party at a time when Prasad is lodged at Ranchi jail. Till now, Rabri Devi had only been a member of the national executive in the capacity of a former chief minister.
Prasad had called a national executive meeting last November last year with the express purpose of getting himself re-elected as the party chief. Although a resolution to make Tejashwi the next chief ministerial face reportedly failed to go down well with senior leaders back then, no dissension surfaced.
Prasad has now decided to retain old loyalists in the national executive without bringing in new faces – a clear indication that he doesn’t want to ruffle feathers at a time when there are threats of a split. A few leaders, including state spokesperson Ashok Sinha, quit the party recently.
“Lalu does not want to take any chances at this juncture, when keeping his flock together has become such a challenge. This is probably why only cosmetic changes were made in the national executive,” a senior party leader said on the condition of anonymity.
Significantly, Siwan strongman Mohammed Shahabuddin – who is currently in Tihar jail after being convicted in a couple of murder cases – has been dropped from the national executive. By according him membership last time, Prasad had opened himself to allegations from the BJP that the RJD was patronising criminals.
Prasad, however, managed to quell any political repercussions of excluding Shahabuddin by according membership to the latter’s wife – Hina Shahab – into the RJD’s apex body. The others in the national executive are MPs, former ministers, MLAs and state heads of the party.