Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), may have made an astounding comeback to power in Bihar politics but, like the time he managed to seat his wife Rabri Devi on the chief minister's chair even as he spent time in jail, he's ensuring that both his sons who're now ministers in Nitish Kumar's cabinet, are firmly under his leash.
Inspite of being out of power for years, Lalu Prasad has stitched an alliance with Janata Dal United's Nitish Kumar to form a poll-winning Mahagathbandhan, which has ensured power for the RJD as well as another term as chief minister for Kumar.
On Friday, soon after the brothers were sworn in as ministers, some journalists asked Lalu Prasad to send them to a separate corner to field questions from the media. "Whatever you want to ask has to be here, in front of me. They will not go anywhere," said Lalu Prasad.
To add to that, both sons--inspite of being eligible for government bungalows--will continue to stay at home and use these bungalows as office spaces.
The older son, Tej, 27, was after much fumbling sworn in as a Bihar minister. However his father thinks he and his deputy-CM brother are still too inexperienced to handle the tumble of politics. An anonymous party functionary told the Telegraph, " "Laluji and Rabriji have always been protective towards their children. They will have to meet a cross-section of people while handling their respective departments. Laluji thinks they are too young to deal with outside forces and there are people waiting for an opportunity to malign the family image and the party. Laluji does not want to take any chances."
Back in the '90s, when Lalu Prasad was arrested and imprisoned for his role in the fodder scam, his party functionaries got his wife, a primary-school dropout, appointed as the state's chief minister.
“I used to cry in the office. I had fears. My heart used to beat fast. I hated meeting unknown people. I was clueless about what to talk. But the officers gave me confidence, teaching me the way things were supposed to be done. For three-four months, I used to cry a lot,” Rabri said in a 2008-book on her life and leadership, Rabri Devi: Lalu’s Masterstroke.
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