21 April, 2021

One-Ring Circus

Qaidi No. 3351 at Hotwar jail is no ordinary prisoner. Phone calls go out to new legislators, and at the other end is a certain voice that resembled Laloo Prasad Yadav.

Photograph by PTI
One-Ring Circus

Qaidi No. 3351, serving time at the Hotwar jail in Ranchi, is no ordinary prisoner. But then, Laloo Prasad Yadav is no ordinary politician either. A long stint in prison after his conviction in multiple fodder scam cases has not prevented him from playing eminence grise in Bihar politics, pulling strings from behind the scenes in his alleged bid to topple the newly-elected Nitish Kumar government.

A day before voting to elect the new assembly Speaker late last month, BJP’s Pirpainti legislator Lalan Paswan received an unusual phone call, allegedly from none other than Laloo. Lalan says he initially thought that the RJD president had called him up to congratulate him on becoming a legislator. But it was not long before he got a different message. “Laloo -ji told me to skip the voting on the pretext of Covid infection to help topple the NDA government,” he says. “At first, I was happy that a big leader had called me up to congratulate me but I was dismayed to learn that he wanted to involve me in a conspiracy to topple the government,” he...

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