Bihar Assembly Elections 2015: Know your leader Profile- Lalu Prasad Yadav

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Rashtriya Janata Dal Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav has seen it all in politics. The cornered Lalu, who has a tainted image with a dent of fodder scam, is trying hard to revive his fortunes in mainstream Bihar politics. To try his luck in the upcoming assembly polls, he has tied up with his former arch rival Nitish Kumar and Congress.

Bihar will face five-phase assembly polls on Oct 12, Oct 16, Oct 28, Nov 1, Nov 5. The poll results will be declared on Nov 8, Sunday.

Let's take a look at the brief profile of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav.

RJD Chief Lalu Prasad Yadav

Date and place of birth: June 11, 1948, Phulwaria, Gopalganj district, Bihar

Family history: Lalu was born to Kundan Rai and Marachhiya Devi. He is the second child of his parent's six sons. 

He studied Bachelor of Laws and a Master in Political Science from B N College, Patna University. In 2004, he turned down Patna University's Honorary Doctorate.

Political career: Lalu made his debut in politics as the General Secretary of the Patna University Students' Union in 1970, when he was a student of the BN College.

In 1977, he was elected as a member of Lok Sabha as a Janata Party candidate, also one of the youngest Mps at the age of 29!

Then there was no looking back for Lalu and he became the chief minister of Bihar in 1990 but had to resign in his second term in 1997 following his involvement in the infamous fodder scam case. But, he appointed his wife Rabri Devi as his successor as the state's chief minister, when he had to go to jail in connection with the fodder scam case.

Considered as one of the best railway minister in India yet, Lalu's involvement in the embezzlement of about Rs 9.5 billion from the government treasury of Chaibasa under the head of the animal husbandry department has put a dent on his image.

Performance as Bihar CM: As the two-time CM of Bihar, Lalu's tenure is mostly remembered for creating lawlessness, "jungle raj", caste-based politics and corruption in the state.

During his chief ministership, Lalu also made his stronghold among the Muslim and Yadav voters.

Lalu's stint as Railway minister: With his leadership skills and mass appeal, Lalu earned the prestigious title of being one of the best railway ministers in India.

In 2012, even the Pakistani lawmaker Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Sajid Ahmed suggested in the National Assembly that the country's railways should be handed over to former Indian Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav, if the government was unable to tackle the state-run entity's numerous problems.

In 2006, the charismatic leader Lalu also addressed over a hundred students from Harvard, Wharton and others in Hindi.

Fodder scam: The dent on Lalu's image

Lalu Prasad Yadav-led RJD government had kept the reports under cover and the fodder scam surfaced when the deputy commissioner of West Singhbhum district, Amit Khare, was the first to follow up on the CAG reports on the fraudulent withdrawal. The first FIR in connection with the case was lodged on January 24, 1996.

Total 54 cases were lodged in the fodder scam case by the CBI. After the division of Bihar in November 2000, 52 of those cases were transferred to the CBI court in Ranchi, the capital of the newly-formed Jharkhand, with a bench of Jharkhand High Court monitoring them.

Out of 600 accused in the fodder scam case, 510 have been convicted in all cases. The key accused in the scam are Shyam Bihari Sinha, the leave reserve officer in the animal husbandry department in Ranchi, former chief minister Jagannath Mishra, former animal husbandry ministers Vidyasagar Nishad and Chandradeo Prasad Verma, JD(U) MP Jagdish Sharma, BJP leader Dhruv Bhagat and former RJD MP RK Rana.

The then CBI joint director, Upen Biswas, reportedly sought the army's help to arrest Lalu Prasad. On July 25, 1997, Prasad's official residence was surrounded by paramilitary forces. The apex court intervened but he had to go to jail. Then, Lalu announced his wife Rabri Devi as the new chief minister of Bihar.

[Lalu Prasad Yadav: The politician who defied stereotypes]

Now, let's take a look at the rise of Lalu Prasad Yadav in his political journey:

The rise of Lalu Prasad Yadav

In 14th Lok Sabha, Lalu reached Parliament after defeating the BJP's Rajiv Pratap Rudy from Chhapra district and JD(U)'s Sharad Yadav from Madhepura district. Later, he gave up the Madhepura's seat and became the Union Railway minister in 2004.

 

Lalu Prasad Yadav as railway minister

During his successful stint as the Union Railway minister from 2004 to 2009, Lalu revived the use of hygienic and environmentally friendly kulhars (clay cups) for tea and other beverages sold on railway stations and aboard trains and banned plastic cups. The introduction of kulhar cups also boosted rural employment.

In June 2004, he announced that he would get on the railway himself to inspect its problems and went on to board the Patna railway station at midnight.

The rise of Lalu Prasad Yadav

When Lalu became the railway minister in 2004, the Indian Railways was going through a tough phase. But under four years of Lalu's leadership, the Railways made a cumulative total profit of Rs 250 billion. Without rising trains' tickets fares, he found several other profitable sources of revenue for the Railways.

He also improved on his first year's performance by stating a profit of 140 billion with decreased freight and unchanged passenger fares in 2006.

Then, in the 2007 Railway Budget, he increased the profit level to 200 billion with the introduction of cushion seats in all unreserved compartments. In 2008, profits were 250 billions.

 

The rise of Lalu Prasad Yadav

Lalu can be described as the "poor people's messiah" (angel) as he flagged off the air-conditioned "Garib Rath" trains (poor man's chariot) in 2005. These trains are faster than super-fast express trains, with the maximum speed of around 130 kmph.

Since poor people could not afford high fares in AC trains, the fares in Garib Rath trains were less than two-thirds of the fares for air conditioned classes.

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