As the assembly elections in five states at the end of this year and the Lok Sabha elections next year are fast approaching, the ruling-Congress Party, in a bid to make a "hetrick", besides focusing on election campaigns, it is also flexing its muscles by taking a tough stand on its party members as well as its allies.
The recent example, that sent shock waves across the political fraternity, is the five-year jail term for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav.
After being convicted in 17 years-old fodder scam from the Chaibasa treasury of Bihar, Lalu will now cool his heels behind bars in the Birsa Munda Central Jail for next five years plus he is also disqualified as the Member of Parliament (MP) in the Lok Sabha for next 11 years.
In today's verdict by the CBI special judge Pravas Kumar Singh in Ranchi, Jharkhand's capital, a fine of Rs 25 lakh has also been imposed on 65-year-old Lalu.
Another former CM Jagannath Mishra was sentenced with four years in jail.
CBI's commendable job:
Besides, Lalu, the CBI had accused four IAS officers and 25 suppliers in the multi-crore scam case and they have been awarded imprisonment of four years each.
The former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) director Joginder Singh demanded that RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav should have been given a life term in jail.
The court also awarded five-year imprisonment to former district animal husbandry officer BN Sharma and imposeed Rs 1.5 crore fine on him.
Before the verdict was pronounced, the CBI lawyer BMP Singh had sought maximum prison term of up to seven years for Lalu Prasad and other convicts.
This is the same CBI , which was given a tag of a "caged parrot" by the Supreme Court, while questioning its credibility in May this year.
Raising questions on the independence of CBI, the apex court had called it a "caged parrot speaking in its master's voice".
The SC, while making a scathing comment on the functioning of the CBI had said, "It's a sordid saga that there are many masters and one parrot."
The witty-minded Mulayam also knows that he can be targetted by the Congress.
Now, after chasing Lalu, this parrot (CBI) may run after the Samajwadi Party (SP) supremo Mulayam Singh Yadav in his disproportionate assets (DA) case.
Because, upcoming elections are already giving sleepless nights to the UPA government considering its air-tight situation on corruption charges and inflation rate.
Now, in such a scenario, in an attempt to present its positive image in front of the people of the nation, Congress seems to be in a damage-control mode by tightening the noose on the tainted politicians.
Prior to Lalu, on October 1, Rasheed Masood became the first Congress MP to be convicted and imprisoned for four years in MBBS seats scam in 1996.
The Congress is desperately looking for an image makeover and this fact was proved by Rashid Alvi, the Congress party's leader when on Lalu's conviction he said, "The party respected the ruling of a special court convicting Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam. To think that the ordinance was brought to save a particular person is wrong."
Lalu sentencing after Congress's nod to CBI?
As the elections are nearing, the Congress gave a nod to its parrot (CBI) and soon, hearing dates from the CBI special court were fixed and swiftly, the court's verdict came, that rattled the RJD.
Mulayam Singh Yadav to be the next target?
Now, if it is true, then, next target may be the SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, as he has been keeping options open for the emergence of the Third Front in the political circles.
The witty-minded Mulayam also knows that he can be targetted by the Congress, so, he always give calculated answers on it.
But in the excitement of upcoming elections, if Mulayam dares to speak against Congress president Sonia Gandhi or V-P Rahul Gandhi, then, may be before next years general elections, the recently closed Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on disproportionate assests (DA) case by the CBI, may be opened again and haunt him.
And then the well-planned game of Samajwadi Party will not take much time to be a flop show.
While indicating talks on Third Front, yesterday, Mulayam Singh Yadav held a meeting with the CPI(M) General Secretary Prakash Karat and reportedly discussed the evolving political situation in the wake of the controversy over the ordinance to protect convicted lawmakers.
Lalu: Always anti-Rahul?
Although, Lalu-led RJD gives outside support to the UPA with his four MPs, but he has never praised the Congress party's Vice-President Rahul Gandhi.
Recently, the RJD had flayed Rahul Gandhi over his "nonsense ordinance" remark. But, it was also reported that Lalu had pleaded before the Congress bosses to shield him by saying that his conviction would push all the Yadav votes towards the BJP and harm the secular camp.
But for Rahul Gandhi, Congress's revival is more important than that of Lalu Prasad-led RJD, a weakening ally.