A former union minister under the 2004-09 UPA government and former chief minister of Bihar, Lalu Prasad Yadav currently serves as the chief of Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD). A law degree holder, Lalu joined politics from his student days at Patna University and went on to be one of the youngest elected Lok Sabha MP, as a Janta Dal candidate in 1977. Yadav became the chief minister of Bihar in 1990, but was forced to resign in 1997 after escalating corruption charges against him in the Fodder Scam. The infamous term, ‘Jungle Raj’ that is commonly used to describe the poor law and order situation of Bihar was coined during his tenure. Following the allegations of Fodder Scam, Yadav broke away from Janta Dal in 1997 to form his own political party, RJD. His tenure as the Railway Minister under the UPA was widely celebrated for he showed a massive profit in a sector which has forever been in loss, just in a span of four years. This won him praises from all around the globe, with Ivy Leagues and top B-schools honouring him. Though it was later claimed that the profit shown was just a result of showing finances differently. Yadav was remanded several times with relation of Fodder scam and several other cases he was named in before being convicted in 2013 by a CBI court in Ranchi, after which he was arrested and taken to Birsa Munda Central Jail. Yadav, who is currently out on bail, was also asked to pay a Rs 25 lakh fine, disqualified as an MP, and was barred from contesting a public election for six years.
Prasad, who was a student leader when Jayprakash Narayan, popularly known as JP, launched “Sampoorna Kranti” (total revolution) in 1974 and was jailed under MISA (Maintenance of Internal Security Act).
Within the Mahagathbandhan, RJD chief Lalu Prasad is the more keenly tracked partner, and his son, Tejashwi, a first time MLA and deputy chief minister in the Nitish government, is increasingly being seen as an important stakeholder in, even guarantor of, the alliance’s stability.
Unusual camaraderie was on display when the two met here, with Ramdev hugging and rubbing facial cream on Lalu’s forehead. Both have been critical of each other in the past over their political ideologies.