10 May, 2021

Will Laloo Prasad Yadav Be Absentee Kingmaker Of 2019?

The prisoner-patient of ­fodder scam taint may be at his ­weakest ­today, but his boast that you can’t take Laloo out of ­Bihar still rings a tad true. The old warrior seems ­nowhere close to exiting 2019’s election chessboard.

Uneasy Transit
Son Tejashwi Yadav with Laloo at a Mumbai hospital last July
Will Laloo Prasad Yadav Be Absentee Kingmaker Of 2019?

Time is a great leveller, they say, and a peep into a secluded ward of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) in Ranchi could give you a startling snapshot of how unpredictably harsh it can be at times. Lonely, forlorn and worn down by ailments creeping up on him like a pack of hyenas, there lies a man who once strode the land like an insouciant emperor. Charismatic, burlesque, irreverent of old graces—and the unmoving feudal power they rested on—he came like a messiah of seemingly apocalyptic change, almost a force of nature. Today, the once-mighty Laloo Prasad Yadav is reduced to a mere prisoner-­patient, being treated for a kidney beginning to give way, the fruit of long and acute diabetes, while doing time after his conviction in the infamous Rs 950-crore fodder scam cases. Barring once-a-week interactions with visitors, he spends most of his time in solitude. But even in this state, you can’t take Laloo out of Bihar—as his own jokey ­proverbial coinage went—or indeed out of politics.

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