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Bihar has many a story associated with 42-year-old Anirudh Prasad a.k.a. Sadhu Yadav. However,perhaps there’s no better place to start than at the beginning.....

Written by Santosh Singh | Patna |
March 25, 2009 11:54:43 pm

Bihar has many a story associated with 42-year-old Anirudh Prasad a.k.a. Sadhu Yadav. However,perhaps there’s no better place to start than at the beginning. Having joined politics as the Gopalganj Yuva Lok Dal president in 1985,Sadhu made the jump to the big league in 1995 when Lalu Prasad Yadav nominated him to the Bihar Legislative Council under the “culture quota”.

Many eyebrows were raised at how Lalu had obliged his brother-in-law. He may be an arts graduate,and list as his hobbies “cooking,taking meals with the poor,watching movies on society and family themes and reading books on socialist ideologies”,but culture and Sadhu hardly ever crossed paths.

However,as the 14 years have proved since,the headstrong leader knows how to brush away controversies.

Sadhu got re-nominated to the Council in 1998. Already the symbol of the party’s muscle power,he took it one step further when during the grand wedding of Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharati that year,he was accused of walking into a Patna showroom and forcing the owner to part with 21 luxury cars to ferry guests around. The cars came back once the job was done.

In 2000,he joined the electoral fray,returning to the House as an MLA from Gopalganj. The hold of Rabri’s family on the party was total,with four plush official bungalows on Patna’s Anne Marg and adjoining Circular Road now within the family — occupied by Lalu and Rabri,with brothers Sadhu and Subhash (now a Rajya Sabha MP).

People would often joke about those residences being a “mini” Phulwaria (Lalu’s village) and Selar Kelan (Rabri’s village) of Gopalganj.

The same year,Sadhu was accused of roughing up a Transport Secretary when the “law-abiding” official refused to do his bidding. The Chief Minister at the time,Rabri ensured no harm came her brother’s way.

It was in the 2004 Lok Sabha elections that the first signs of a fissure appeared,with Sadhu flexing muscle within the family. Lalu was reportedly keen on fielding Kali Pandey,who had won the seat as an Independent in 1984 despite the overwhelming sympathy wave for the Congress post-Indira Gandhi assassination,from Gopalganj. However,Sadhu lay claim and got Rabri to intervene.

“Lalu had to call up Pandey to say that he had ‘bowed before my better half’s wish’,” said a source. A win by 1.92 lakh votes only boosted Sadhu further. A party leader,Anil Kumar,who wanted an Assembly ticket from Bhore in Gopalganj,was told by Lalu to first get Sadhu’s nod.

Ironically,the same Anil Kumar has now been fielded by the RJD from Gopalganj,which has become a reserved seat,while Sadhu has had to move to the Congress and West Champaran.

When the Bihar flood relief scam broke out in 2004,Sadhu was accused of receiving bribes from flood relief supplier and kingpin Santosh Kumar Jha. He has been on bail since January 2007.

His Lok Sabha tenure also saw him have a scuffle with JD(U) leader leader Prabhunath Singh inside Parliament.

In 2007,he posed Lalu another embarrassment when he delayed the departure of Indian Railways’ showpiece train Rajdhani from Patna. Considering how Lalu prides himself on turning the Railways into an efficient,profit-making outfit,that must have certainly pricked the RJD chief.

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