By Abhijit Mulye
Mumbai, September 30: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav was convicted in fodder scam case by a Special CBI court. This decision of the court will have a big impact on the socio-political equations of the state.
Lalu Prasad Yadav entered politics as General Secretary of the Patna University Students' Union in 1970. That was the time when students in Bihar had started a massive agitation. Congress’s Abdul Gafur was the Chief Minister and student’s were agitating against the corruption. When the agitation grew in size, the leaders of the agitation asked Jai Prakash Narayan to lead it. Jai Praksh Narayan tried to achieve a social as well as political change with the help of this agitation which had started receiving a massive support from the people by then. While he tried to bring all the parties together on an anti-Congress agenda on one hand; on the other hand he gave a call for “Sampoorna Kranti” (Copmplete Revolution) that had electoral, administrative, land reforms along with strong social reforms on its agenda. The anti- Congress agenda got an immediate acceptance from all quarters.
Congress under Indira Gandhi at that time, all over the country, had formed unique equation of getting support from Brahmins, Muslims and Dalits. Hence the anti-Congress politics in Bihar had to search for another social support base. This compulsion forced them towards other backward casts. This led to the emergence of Karpoori Thakur as a strong force in Bihar politics. Lalu Prasad Yadav, Nitish Kumar, Ramvilas Paswan were all young leaders in the agitation under Karpoori Thakur.
In 1977, former Chief Minister of Bihar and the then President of Bihar State Janata Party, Satyendra Narayan Sinha supported Lalu as a candidate for the Lok Sabha and campaigned for him. Lalu was elected as a member of the 6th Lok Sabha on a Janata Party ticket at the age 29, becoming one of the youngest members of the Indian Parliament at the time. Lalu always wanted to rule Bihar. So, he developed a new socio-political equation of Yadavs and Muslims. In a span of 10 years, he became a formidable force in Bihar State politics. The Muslims in Bihar had traditionally served as a Congress (I) vote bank, but they shifted their loyalty to Yadav. During the Indian general elections in 1989 and state assembly elections, he successfully led the National Front coalition in Bihar. He was elected Chief Minister leaving behind Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister from the same party, when it came to power in the 1990 Assembly elections.
The fodder scam came to light in 1996. Meanwhile, Janta Dal too had started disintegrating. Nitish Kumar started his search for new alliances and emerged with a new social equation of ‘Maha-Dalit’ where he successfully brought together many small (read - not so relevant in number game of electoral politics) casts and won the throne with the help of BJP.
In all the odds Lalu retained his popularity among the Muslim voters. But, Nitish Kumar tried to woe over Muslims in recent times, which disturbed Lalu’s socio-political equations. Now, with the decision of the CBI court, as he goes off the political arena, it will be interesting to watch how the socio-political equations in Bihar take new turn.