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Lalu Prasad: From student leader to Bihar CM to fodder scam convict

A backward Bihar slipped back further into the darkness even as Lalu's political fortunes rose.

Updated:September 30, 2013, 1:23 PM IST
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Lalu Prasad: From student leader to Bihar CM to fodder scam convict
A backward Bihar slipped back further into the darkness even as Lalu's political fortunes rose.

New Delhi: Even as Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad stares into an uncertain future after his conviction in a fodder scam case by a special CBI court in Ranchi, he remains a leader who went on to became the chief minister of Bihar and a major force in national politics on the basis of his hard work and sharp acumen, which demolished many established leaders.

Lalu has been the loudest voice of the lower castes and the favourite whipping-boy of the media, but he is also a person who defies stereotypes.
But Monday's order by special CBI judge Pravas Kumar Singh convicting him in the multi-crore fodder scam means he will lose his Lok Sabha seat and is likely to be eclipsed from the political landscape.

Lalu began his political life from BN College, Patna when he was elected the Patna University Student Union General Secretary in 1970. Later he increased his political activity during the students' movement in Patna University.
He then became a supporter of Jayprakash Narayan and Ram Manohar Lohia, and then started projecting himself as a backward caste leader.

As a result at just the age of 29 years Lalu was elected to the Lok Sabha. He repeated the 1974 Sampoorna Kranti slogan in several of his rallies and after the Mandal-mandir phase consolidated his position and become the chief minister of Bihar in 1990.

He became the tallest leader of OBCs and had a massive support base in Bihar. After he got senior BJP leader LK Advani arrested at Samastipur during the Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra, the Muslims saw in him their saviour and became his most loyal votebank.

But Lalu could not do any development in Bihar during his reign and law and order deteriorated so much that Bihar came to be known as a place where there was "jungle raj". A backward Bihar slipped back further into the darkness even as Lalu's political fortunes rose.

But after the fodder scam broke in mid 1990s, Lalu was in big legal trouble. He managed to get his wife Rabri Devi appointed as Bihar chief minister and ruled by proxy. Even as his detractors tried hard to dislodge him, he famously said, "jab tak rahega samose mein aloo, tab tak rahega Bihar mein Lalu".

Despite allegations of massive corruption and "jungle raj" in the state, Lalu kept on winning elections and ruled Bihar till 2005 when Nitish Kumar finally managed to defeat his party. Lalu even became the railway minister in 2004 in the UPA-1 regime.

But now the conviction has firmly put him in a corner from where his comeback is unlikely.

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