Former Congress legislator Ramanand Yadav had introduced a young mathematics post-graduate Bhola Yadav to the then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Prasad in 1995. Bhola, who hailed from Darbhanga’s Bahadurganj had come to Patna to prepare for the Bihar Public Services Commission (BPSC) examinations. Lalu inducted Bhola into the ranks of his junior staffers, who assisted him in office works.
Just a year later, the fodder scam involving Lalu surfaced. This is when Bhola’s rise began as he started assisting Lalu at home and in courts. Lalu went on to break away from the Janata Dal to float his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) party in 1997.
When Lalu became the railway minister as a key ally of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2004, Bhola was appointed as the minister’s OSD, where he continued till 2009.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Bhola, 53, and raided his premises in Patna and Darbhanga on Wednesday in connection with the “land for jobs” scam, which pertains to allegations that Lalu and his family members took land plots for a pittance as bribe from some people who were recruited as substitutes (Group D posts) in the railways. The agency had in May booked Lalu and his family members in this connection and searched their premises too.
Bhola is said to have been a witness on papers for allegedly over 40 land transactions involving Lalu’s kin in the “land for jobs scam”. The CBI’s bid to arrest him has dealt another blow to the Lalu family, even though the RJD has sought to play it down by dismissing the agency’s action as “vendetta politics”.
Bhola had been a member of Lalu’s troika of close aides that also included Ram Kripal Yadav, former RJD MP and principal general secretary, and Shyam Rajak, ex-minister.
Ram Kripal quit the RJD and switched to the BJP in the run-up to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls and is currently the saffron party’s two-term MP from the Pataliputra constituency. Rajak had been the principal RJD spokesperson for a long time. He later left the RJD to join the Janata Dal (United), but later returned to the party.
Bhola, however, never deserted the RJD and remained one of Lalu’s most trusted lieutenants through his good and bad times. He has all always been seen accompanying Lalu during his regular court appearances.
The RJD nominated Bhola as a member of the Bihar Legislative Council in 2014. In 2015 state Assembly elections, he contested from Darbhanga’s Bahadurpur seat on the RJD’s ticket and won. The party fielded him from Hayaghat, another Darbhanga district seat, in 2020 Assembly polls, when he lost. His 2015 election affidavit shows assets worth over Rs 3.5 crore. He has a house and land plots in Patna.
Bhola has continued to be a member of the teams of Lalu as well as his son and Leader of the Opposition (LoP) in the Assembly, Tejashwi Prasad Yadav. He is currently the RJD national general secretary.
When contacted for comments on Bhola’s arrest by the CBI, RJD spokesperson Mrityunjay Tiwari told The Indian Express: “While we respect law and court process, BJP must not forget that it would not remain in power for ever. It should better stop political vendetta.”