September 28, 2020

Caged and frail, Lalu still draws a flock

New Delhi: Clad in a blue T-shirt and white lungi, RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Thursday walked up the corridors of the old private ward of AIIMS-Delhi, flanked by Jharkhand police jawans. A bunch of supporters, including some Bihar MLAs and former MPs, rushed to get the incarcerated party chief’s darshan.

Lalu, a frail picture of the force he used to be, greeted them with folded hands. He barely managed to whisper a few words to his supporters, expressing gratitude and then quickly urging them to go. In less than a minute, he walked back and the policemen asked the supporters to leave.

Lalu, undergoing treatment at AIIMS while being in custody in the fodder scam, gives a fleeting darshan to his supporters every day for less than a minute between 4pm and 4.30pm, party leaders said. MLAs, MPs and other leaders gather in the public space quietly and like disciplined soldiers to catch a glimpse of their leader. He is lodged in room No. 101 of the old private ward of AIIMS.

Party leaders complained that the stringent security makes it difficult for them to meet Lalu. On Thursday, he stood at the edge of a barricade at the start of the corridor with a posse of policemen around him, while the supporters greeted him from a safe distance. Some tried to touch his feet but were not allowed.

“Lalu is being tortured. He is being singled out,” said former MLC Mahachandar Singh. Singh, a former Congress leader who joined the JDU and is currently with the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led HAMS, had come to see Lalu. The RJD MLA from Hilsa, Shakti Singh Yadav, had also come.

Lalu noticed the leaders and greeted them but didn’t have the opportunity to interact with them. The leaders felt happy they had registered their presence to show solidarity with the leader in these difficult times.

“Lalu will emerge stronger. People of Bihar are realising that Lalu is being victimised for opposing the BJP,” Singh said.

The RJD boss has been serving his jail term in Ranchi since December 23 last year. Later he was admitted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences in Ranchi for treatment and then shifted to AIIMS-Delhi on March 30 this year.

Courtesy: The Telegraph

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