How Lalu Yadav controlled General Election 2019 from custody in Ranchi?
Before the announcement of the elections, RJD chief Lalu Yadav sought bail from the Supreme Court on health grounds, but his petition was rejected
Serving a 14-year jail term in the fodder scam cases, RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav seems to have managed his party's poll planning — by cementing its alliances and selecting its candidates — while staying imprisoned in a Ranchi hospital.
The former Bihar Chief Minister has been in judicial custody at the paying ward of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Science (RIMS) in neighbouring Jharkhand since August 30. According to doctors, he is being treated for blood pressure, kidney problems and other ailments.
Before the announcement of the elections, he sought bail from the Supreme Court on health grounds, but his petition was rejected.
However, even under the hostile BJP government of Jharkhand, the RJD President seems to have taken advantage of Ranchi's Birsa Munda Central Jail manual to evade scrutiny and guide his younger son Tejashwi Yadav, who now looks after the RJD affairs.
According to the jail manual, a prisoner can meet three persons every Saturday.
Over the past 32 weeks, Lalu Prasad Yadav met 96 people, including Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) founder Sharad Yadav, former BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) President Upendra Kushwaha, former Bihar Chief Minister and Hindustani Awam Morcha (HAM) President Jeetan Ram Manjhi, Chatra RJD candidate Subhash Yadav and some Congress leaders.
Tejashwi Yadav met him at least 10 times, while his eldest son Tej Pratap met him twice. Lalu Prasad Yadav's wife Rabri Devi did not meet him even once.
It was at these meetings that the seat sharing formula of the Gathbandhan partners in Bihar was finalised.
After the announcement of the Lok Sabha polls, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar even alleged that Lalu Prasad Yadav was managing his party's election plan over the phone.
Nitish Kumar's statement prompted the Ranchi district administration to raid Lalu Prasad Yadav's ward, but nothing suspicious was found there.
On April 20, the jail authorities banned the RJD veteran's meetings with people citing law and order issues. But the order was withdrawn after his party created a furore.
The RJD chief is also active on Twitter and has been attacking his political opponents on the social media. Just before elections, he also came out with a book, "Gopalganj to Raisina" co-authored with Nalin Verma.