RJD chief Lalu Yadav will not campaign for state elections in Bihar for the first time in over four decades. The former Chief Minister, jailed for corruption since 2018, had handed charge to his son Tejashwi Yadav but has been overseeing party affairs from a prison hospital.
Lalu Yadav, 72, is serving a four-year sentence in Jharkhand in a case linked to the misuse of funds meant for cattle fodder on his watch as Chief Minister in the 1990s. He has spent most of his term at a government hospital in Ranchi.
He was granted bail today by the Jharkhand High Court in one of many fodder scam cases but he will stay in jail. The last such case comes up for hearing on November 9 - a day before the Bihar election result. Even if he is released on bail, it will be too late.
Lalu Yadav has been in jail since January 2018 but has been granted bail in many cases on grounds that he had already served 50 per cent of his sentence.
For the first time since 1977, when he was elected MP for the first time, Lalu Yadav, a stalwart of Bihar politics, will be missing from the campaign. He had also missed last year's national election.
His face is missing from posters of the RJD -- the party he founded in 1997 - which feature Tejashwi Yadav along with the slogan "Naya Soch, Nayi Bihar".
Sources say with the number of health problems that Lalu Yadav has been suffering, it is not known whether he can actively campaign in future elections. His son Tejashwi has been valiantly leading the party's campaign but his critics say he has much to learn. Tejashwi's first big poll outing without his father, the 2019 election, proved to be disastrous with the Nitish Kumar and the BJP decimating the opposition.