She was the accidental chief minister. In 1997, Rabri Devi, 59, was forced to take charge after her husband Lalu Prasad resigned as chief minister over his alleged involvement in the fodder scam. Since then, the reticent mother of nine has served as CM thrice. This time, she is filling in for Lalu from Saran Lok Sabha seat, which he had to give up following his conviction in the fodder scam. The Sunday Standard caught up with her at Quawri, 70km from Patna, where there are no roads, few have power connection, even fewer have access to clean water. The only saving grace seems to be mobile connectivity. Here, Rabri relies on personal contact. She visits homes of supporters, spends time with women folk. Still short of words, she seeks votes in Lalu’s name and requests people to rally behind her party.
How is your campaign going?
The campaign is going very well. We are getting support from all sections of society. Yadavs will not go anywhere. The Muslims are with us. Even Bhils, Mallahs and extreme backward classes are coming and saying they will only vote for me. In Chhapra, it’s all one sided. Till now, 14 seats have gone to polls. There is a huge groundswell of support for us. For the last 10 years, there has been no development in Bihar. The poor are not getting anything—grains, pension or houses. They are being short-changed.
The BJP is claiming it will win most of the seats because of a Modi wave?
Where is the wave? You can see how people love me and greet me. There may be some talk in the cities where people talk about them, be it traders or banias who support BJP. But there is no such thing in villages.
Narendra Modi is the front runner. How do you see him as your opponent?
What do I say about him? He belongs to the Dangai party (riots party). Everyone knows what happened in Gujarat. Innocents were killed. This party divides the country. We will not let this party form the government. The only wave is in the media. There is no wave anywhere else. Our party will play an important role in forming the next government.
What about Nitish Kumar? Will there be change in state politics?
After the May 16 results, his government will fall in Bihar. People are deserting him. People who have got tickets are leaving his party. The Kishanganj candidate has backed out. You will see in the next few days even more people will desert him. Nitish Kumar is finished. There is only talk about him in the media. He is finished on the ground. People hate him. He may get one or two seats.
What promises are you making?
We are not promising anything. Everyone knows what work has been done in Chhapra when Laluji was minister. He did a lot for the seat. We will not have to talk for development, it will automatically happen.
How do you see your sons doing?
Tejaswvi could not contest elections as he is underage. Had he qualified, he would have contested from Chhapra.
Courtesy: Indian Express