Fodder scam: Conviction and acquittal

Lalu Prasad Yadav has an uncanny power of always turning the tables on his opponents and adversaries. He has just been convicted and sent to jail in another fodder scam case. But the court acquitted his co-accused Jagannath Mishra, another former chief minister and Congress leader of Bihar. The acquittal must have been because the prosecution (CBI) could not produce enough evidence to obtain his conviction. But Jagannath Mishra’s acquittal would be – in fact, has become – a grist to the propaganda mill of Lalu’s party, the Rashtriya Janata Dal. Their line of propaganda is that Lalu has been jailed because he belongs to the so-called ‘low’ caste while Jagannath Mishra being a high caste Brahmin has been let off. A Lalu in jail may thus become a bigger political challenge to his opponents than a Lalu at liberty. The last on the case has certainly not been heard. Lalu is going to appeal to a higher court. Quite possibly he will be out on bail during the pendency of the appeal.
There is no doubt that his party, the RJD, now led by his two sons Tejaswi and Tejpratap, will embark of a propaganda campaign that Lalu was convicted because he was dead against the BJP while Jagannath Mishra was not only a Brahmin but who had sometime back joined the BJP camp. That such a line of propaganda will be tantamount to questioning the fairness of the court judgment will not deter the RJD which has to settle political scores with the BJP. As the saying goes, there is nothing unfair in love and war. Mishra deserted the Congress a few years ago and jumped on to the JD(U) bangwagon. Then his son Nitish Mishra was made a minister in the NDA government. His son joined the BJP just before the Bihar Assembly elections in November, 2015.  However he lost to the RJD candidate Gulab Singh.
Meanwhile, Jagannath Mishra’s relations with the present Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar turned frosty. Now Mishra senior loses no opportunity to praise Prime Minister Modi. The BJP, of course, had no problem giving a party ticket to Mishra junior, the son of a scam-tainted father. The RJD can now turn round and say that anyone joining the BJP becomes shuddham, apapbiddham – cleansed of all sins. Lalu is quite likely to be out on bail soon and be at the forefront of his political battle against the BJP, making it appear as a battle between the Yadavs against the upper caste Brahmins – another form of polarizing politics.

Friday, 29 December, 2017