In 1993, when the Bihar government was going through a severe financial crisis and cash withdrawal was banned in all departments, money was released from the Animal Husbandry Department even during that crisis.
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Lalu Prasad Yadav was once called a kingmaker. he round nineties was Neither the Congress nor the BJP secured a majority in the general elections of 1996. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government fell in just 13 days. In this situation, it was Lalu Prasad, with whose support HD Deve Gowda became the Prime Minister of the country. Then it was he who moved Deve Gowda’s chair and brought down the government. Later, he proposed the name of Inder Kumar Gujral for the post of Prime Minister, who was sent to the Rajya Sabha from Bihar by his own RJD party.
Although the desire to become the Prime Minister also remained within him, but when there was a consensus on the name of Mulayam Singh Yadav two or two times, it was Lalu who had scolded him as well and Mulayam continued to regret – if Generally, Lalu Prasad used to interfere a lot in the national politics of the country during this period. He also had the power to sit on the Prime Minister’s chair and pull it down from there. But this was also the period when the Central Investigation Agency CBI started cracking down on him in the fodder scam case. Despite having such a great political status, he could not save himself in this matter.
The matter went out of Lalu’s hands as soon as the CBI took charge.
Let’s go back a little further. The story of the over Rs 950 crore fodder scam is not hidden from anyone. The big game happened in the 1990s and 2000s. In 1993, when the Bihar government was going through a severe financial crisis, cash withdrawals from all departments were banned. But even during that crisis, money was released from the Livestock Department. When Sushil Modi raised the issue in the assembly, then chief minister Jagannath Mishra had avoided the issue saying he had information and said the investigation was on.
However, time passed a little longer. Whenever the media surrounded the then CM on this issue, most of the times he continued to run away. The Supreme Court handed over the fodder scam investigation to the CBI and then the matter was no longer in Lalu’s hands. They were seen standing in the vortex. I would never have thought that the scam would be exposed.
First consultation after Deve Gowda became Prime Minister
Journalist Sankarshan Thakur writes in his book Bandhu Bihari that Lalu’s number of MLAs had dropped from 32 to 22 after the 1996 general elections. The Samata Party, which was with the BJP, was also against Lalu. Even after wanting, Lalu would not become the Prime Minister. Atal Bihari filed the claim, but within 13 days of being sworn in, the government fell because it could not prove a majority in the Lok Sabha. Now the United Front government had to be formed. HD Deve Gowda was unanimously appointed Prime Minister. Lalu could not be a king, but he must have been a king.
The first interrogation of Lalu Prasad in the fodder scam case took place in January 1997. UN Biswas, who headed the CBI team, detained the then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu for about 6 hours and he asked 400 questions. In response, he called this scam a Brahminical conspiracy. He also played the backward card, but to no avail. While talking to the media, Biswas used to say that he (Lalu) is very clever and intelligent but the CBI will catch him.
When the Prime Minister was reprimanded, he got the same response
Lalu Prasad called the then Prime Minister Deve Gowda and scolded him. He said, “This is all wrong. What are you doing. The result will be very bad. If you want to conspire, do it against the BJP, why are you persecuting us?” Deve Gowda expressed his helplessness by taking the matter to court. There was also an argument between the two at Devgoda’s official residence. Lalu then said: “Ka ji Deve Gowda, that’s why they appointed you as Prime Minister to prepare a case against us? He is very wrong by making you MP.
This time, not even Deve Gowda was going to keep quiet. He replied to Lalu in the same way. Said- “The Government of India and the CBI are not a Janata Dal that has run like a buffalo. You run the party like a buffalo, but I run the Government of India.”
If Deve Gowda had wanted, he could have done many things. The CBI was headed by their chosen man. Joginder Singh, an IPS officer of Karnataka cadre. There might be a match in his one gesture, but he did not do it for Lalu. The result was the same, which Lalu had indicated in his tone. He withdrew his support. Deve Gowda had to resign.
Deve Gowda removed, Gujral made PM
After the fall of Deve Gowda, once again the discussion of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s name came up. The desire to become Prime Minister was also on Lalu’s mind. He objected to Mulayam’s name that when Yadav will become the Prime Minister, why not him? He clearly said that he will not support Yadav from Uttar Pradesh. Here he played the game again and sent Inder Kumar Gujral, who was sent to the Rajya Sabha from his party from Bihar.
Lalu had played a game to send Gujral to Rajya Sabha. In the Sabzibagh area of Patna, the letterbox leg was named after him here. However, that house belonged to Anwar Ahmed, a close friend of Lalu. Well, Gujral only made a change in the previous cabinet at the behest of Lalu. In the fodder scam, Lalu suspected that Devendra Yadav was against him, so on Lalu’s orders, Gujral removed him as a minister.
Lalu was sure to do the Naga Mahayagya but….
The CBI was all set to chargesheet Lalu Yadav in the fodder scam. On the same day, Lalu was conducting Mahayagya at Sabalpur Diara, an island-like place in the Ganges, some distance from Patna. A Naga Baba was called from Kashi. Lalu arrived there with his family and friends. The Yagya was completed well. It is said that the curse of Naga Baba is also imposed and his blessings also bear fruit. Naga Baba was pleased and also anointed Lalu Prasad with Gangajal milk.
After Gujral became Prime Minister, some of Lalu’s worries were gone, he was even happier to have done the rest of the Naga Mahayagya. But as soon as he turned on the television after returning home, the fuse in his mind blew. CBI Director Joginder Singh’s statement was reaching all the channels that he has completed the tests and is about to file a charge sheet.
Gujral didn’t come to Lalu’s ‘work’ either!
Lalu Prasad immediately called “his” Prime Minister IK Gujral. The way he spoke to Deve Gowda, he also spoke to Gujral in the same way: “What’s going on? What the hell are you all doing? Have you removed a PM and become an MP and are also doing the same job?” Gujral was expressing his helplessness because Lalu hit the phone here. Gujral must have felt bad too!
Gujral too could have done something if he wanted to. But they too did not come to Lalu’s ‘work’. Lalu was getting angry and was turning the phone to all his acquaintances. He didn’t want to resign. His opponents in the United Front were inwardly happy. Here PM Gujral did not want to do anything good or bad. He remained centrist.
June 17, 1997 was the date on which AR Kidwai, the then governor of Bihar, allowed the CBI to file a charge against CM Lalu. Within a week, Lalu Prasad and 55 others were accused of fodder scam. Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan also turned against Lalu. Sharad himself wanted to become the party president.
The split in the party was revealed in the election of the president. The party broke up. However, Lalu Prasad had proposed his wife Rabri Devi for the CM chair from the back door. Despite all odds, Lalu could not save himself from going to jail. You are seeing the story after that.