Lalu Prasad today found a sympathiser in senior JD(U) leader Uday Narayan Choudhary, who alleged that the crackdown on the RJD supremo and his family members smacked of "vendetta", which would help the RJD gain politically.
"The action against Lalu and his family members looks like badle ki karvai (vendetta). This may lead to a backlash, which will benefit the RJD," the former Bihar Legislative Assembly speaker told PTI in Patna, much to the embarrassment of the Nitish Kumar-led party.
- Nitish Kumar a 'farzi socialist': Lalu Prasad Yadav
- People now fear cows, not tiger: RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav
- Fodder scam verdict: After conviction, Lalu Yadav accuses BJP of playing dirty, immoral political games
- Fodder scam verdict: Lalu Yadav convicted by special CBI court, quantum of punishment on Jan 3
He evaded a direct reply to a pointed query as to whether he was accusing his own party and its ally, the BJP, of acting spitefully against a political adversary.
"I would just like to give an example. Fire does not burn gold, but adds to its glitter. Similarly, Lalu and his family may come out stronger, following the recent events," Choudhary said.
The senior JD(U) leader, who has of late been critical of his own party headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, was reacting to the recent conviction of Prasad in a fodder scam case, pertaining to illegal withdrawal of Rs 89.27 lakh from the Deoghar treasury between 1991 and 1994, and slapping of money-laundering cases against his wife Rabri Devi, daughter Misa Bharti, son-in-law Shailesh and son Tejashwi Yadav.
JD(U) spokesman and MLC Neeraj Kumar countered Choudhary's assertions, saying, "Prasad has been held guilty in a two-decades-old corruption case by a court of law. Where is the question of vendetta?"
He added that the cases against Prasad's family "relate to the amassing of benami property by the self-proclaimed champions of the poor. Their public image is shattered".
RJD leaders, who have been lying low since Prasad was convicted by a special CBI court at Ranchi on Saturday, assembled at his wife Rabri Devi's residence in Patna today to discuss their future strategy.
After the meeting, senior leaders Raghuvansh Prasad Singh and Abdul Bari Siddiqui said the future course of action of the party would be announced on January 6, at a meeting in Patna, and added that all the RJD leaders, "big and small", were invited to it.
Later, Leader of Opposition in the Bihar Assembly Tejashwi Yadav alleged that his father was a victim of the "dirty politics" played by the ruling JD(U)-BJP combine in the state.
"The JD(U)-BJP combine has been wary of our support base, which has grown ever since Nitish Kumar insulted the mandate of the 2015 Assembly polls. The people are angry that we (RJD), whom they had voted for, are out of power, while the BJP -- which was rejected by them -- is enjoying power."
Yadav was the deputy chief minister in the previous Grand Alliance government, comprising the JD(U), RJD and Congress.
Meanwhile, at Ranchi, the Jharkhand unit of the BJP termed the RJD leaders' allegation that the saffron party was responsible for Prasad's conviction in the case "ridiculous".
"When he (Prasad) was charged with the case, HD Deve Gowda was the prime minister. When he went to jail for the first time (1997), I K Gujral was the prime minister. Both the United Front governments were his supporters. It is ridiculous on the part of the RJD leaders to raise voice against the BJP," party spokesperson Praveen Prabhakar said in a statement.
He added that whoever might the person be, the law and Constitution were supreme.