He had been refused bail three times earlier, and the unanticipated good fortune of the April 17 bail order by the Jharkhand High Court has injected a sense of optimism among the party cadre and Lalu’s supporters in Bihar.
However, nearly two weeks after the bail order, Lalu hasn’t yet made it to his home state, because he is in AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences), New Delhi, being treated for various ailments. Besides, his lawyers in Jharkhand have yet to collect the orders from the court, so he is still technically in judicial custody. The RJD patriarch will be turning 73 this June and is likely to continue for some time in Delhi, given the pandemic situation. Sources close to the family say Lalu may stay in AIIMS for now till he can shift to his daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti’s house in the capital.
A senior RJD leader, speaking anonymously, admitted that a free Lalu allows a lot more “leeway to the party”. “Lalu can reach out to anyone, cutting across the political divide. Whether it is Jitan Ram Manjhi of HAM (Hindustani Awam Morcha), Mukesh Sahani (Vikassheel Insaan Party), the five legislators of the Asaduddin Owaisi-led AIMIM (All India Majlis-Ittihad-ul-Muslimeen), or even Nitish Kumar, nobody is off limits for Lalu Prasad. If Lalu is present and leading from the front, he has much more acceptability than his son Tejashwi can ever hope for,” he says.
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