A frail-looking Rastriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad on Monday addressed his first political meeting in a long time and castigated the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Nitish Kumar administration in Bihar for their “many failures” and predicted that a bright future awaits his own party under his son Tejashwi Yadav.
Appearing on national television to mark the silver jubilee of the party he founded in 1997 after breaking away from the Janata Dal, Prasad, who is suffering from many ailments and convalescing at his MP daughter Misa Bharti’s residence in New Delhi, recalled his struggles for OBC quota and the fight for the rights of the weaker sections.
The snappy wisecracks were missing from the speech he delivered virtually for scores of RJD workers and leaders at the party’s state headquarters in Patna who were waiting for a glimpse of their leader for a long time since his incarceration after conviction in the fodder scam.
“GST and demonetisation as also corona have created an economic crisis. Now, there is the threat of destroying the social fabric. After Ayodhya, some people are talking about Mathura,” Prasad, a strident critic of the BJP, said without naming the BJP or Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He attacked the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar over “rampant corruption”, alleged mismanagement of the COVID-19 crisis and “four murders” taking place in the state every day.
“Lakhs and lakhs of people are being reduced to migrant labourers because of lack of employment,” he said.
He lavished praise on his younger son Tejashwi Yadav, who is the leader of the opposition, for astutely helming the party during the assembly elections in 2020.
“Frankly, I had never expected this from him. He safely anchored the RJD’s boat (naiya paar lagayi). The RJD has a bright future,” he said.
The RJD is the single largest party in the 243-member Bihar assembly though the Janata Dal-United-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance governs the state.
Prasad also had a word of praise for his elder son Tej Pratap who, he said, made a “forceful speech” at the event.
The RJD boss, known for breathing fire and brimstone while making political speeches, in his restrained addressess, credited his wife Rabri Devi, a former chief minister, and Tejashwi for being alive.
“But for them, I would have perished in Ranchi (where he was incarcerated in the fodder scame cases). Doctors at AIIMS here also took great care of me,” Prasad, who slurred at times, said.