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Lalu Yadav’s health scare adds to concern over post-election stress

Lalu Prasad’s condition had been erratic for the past couple of days, and it deteriorated after the air-conditioning of his room shut down around 5am because of a power cut.

patna Updated: May 27, 2019 16:06 IST
Subhash Pathak & Manish Raj
Subhash Pathak & Manish Raj
Patna/Ranchi
Lalu Yadav,Health scare,RJD
Panic prevailed at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, after incarcerated Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad suddenly complained of restlessness and suffocation on Sunday morning.(Hindustan Times)

Panic prevailed at the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Ranchi, after incarcerated Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad suddenly complained of restlessness and suffocation on Sunday morning.

Prasad’s condition had been erratic for the past couple of days, and it deteriorated after the air-conditioning of his room shut down around 5am because of a power cut.

The RJD veteran, being treated for multiple ailments, woke up feeling restless. His attendant called Dr DK Jha, who is attending to him at RIMS, from the cell phone of a nurse. Hospital sources said that Jha reached the hospital at 6am, had Prasad taken to a well-ventilated place, and examined him thoroughly. The RJD chief was taken back the ward after power supply was restored.

RIMS superintendent Vivek Kashyap said that the power supply to RIMS was cut off by the power utility for changing the high-tension wire of the grid connected to the hospital. “The generator meant for [Prasad’s] ward was not working due to some technical fault in its battery. The battery has been sent for repair,” said Kashayap, adding that alternative arrangement of power supply was made from the emergency section of the RIMS.

Earlier, Prasad’s wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi had expressed fear that the RJD chief might be poisoned at RIMS at the behest of the BJP leaders in Jharkhand. His son and opposition leader in the Bihar assembly Tejashwi Prasad Yadav had also alleged that Prasad was being treated “worse than the prisoners of war in Pakistan”.

Poll debacle takes its toll on Lalu

Prasad has reportedly been under stress after the Lok Sabha results were declared on May 23, said doctors at RIMS.

“The daily routine of the former Bihar chief minister is in disarray. He is getting up late, skipping meals and not taking medicines as per schedule,” doctors said. Dr Umesh Prasad, one of the physicians, said that the RJD supremo was counselled on Saturday night. “Since Thursday, Lalu Prasad has not had his meals properly. He took breakfast reluctantly, and did not have food till dinner. During counselling, we told him that such a routine could aggravate his existing health ailments. Following this, he had lunch as per the schedule on Sunday,” said the doctor.

He said that it appeared the RJD leader was suffering from anxiety and was under mental strain. However, doctors had no political discussions with him. “Doctors are not concerned with his political ambitions; their role is to ensure that any patient admitted to the hospital adheres to the treatment chart and schedule,” said Dr Prasad.

The RJD leader is suffering from a dozen health ailments such as diabetes, hypertension, fatty liver, chronic kidney failure (stage 3), prostate, hyperuricemia, kidney stone, and perennial infection. He had undergone heart valve replacement surgery at Asian Heart Institute, Mumbai, in 2018.

In September 2018, doctors had also diagnosed him with mild depression. Because of age and health-related ailments, Prasad has suffered from festering boils (folliculitis) in his leg on at least six occasions in the past few months.

According to sources in RIMS, the RJD chief had woken up early last Thursday before the announcement of polls results. However, he switched off the TV by 1pm and went to sleep, after early results showed that the party had failed to win any seat in Bihar.

Before the elections, a host of political personalities, including Shatrughan Sinha, senior Congress leader Tariq Anwar, Hindustani Awami Morcha (Secular) leader Jitan Ram Manjhi, and NCP general secretary DP Tripathi, had met the RJD chief.

While Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti visited him last Tuesday, not a single political bigwig met him after declaration of results.

On Saturday, RJD state president Abhay Singh, along with Pirpainti legislator Ram Vilas Yadav, had met the party chief. Journalist Nalin Varma, who has co-authored his biography Gopalgunj to Raisina, also met him.

Meanwhile, RJD party workers said that the party was looking forward to the assembly elections, scheduled later this year, under the leadership of Prasad. “It is inevitable that our leader will be perturbed due to the results. RJD is a like a family, and he (Lalu Prasad) is our father figure… The setback is temporary. We will learn from our mistakes,” said Kailash Yadav, RJD general secretary

First Published: May 27, 2019 05:25 IST