Lalu Prasad Yadav was born on 11 June 1948 in Gopalganj, Bihar, is an Indian politician from Bihar. He was the Minister of Railways from 2004 to 2009 in the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, Chief Minister of Bihar from 1990 to 1997 and is the President of the Rashtriya Janata Dal political party. He is a Member of Parliament in the 15th Lok Sabha from the Saran constituency in Bihar.
He entered politics during his student days at Patna University, and he was elected a member of the Lok Sabha in 1977 as a Janata party candidate. At the age of 29 he was one of its youngest members of Parliament. Yadav became Chief Minister of Bihar in 1990 but resigned in 1997 following escalating corruption charges relating to the Fodder Scam. From 1997 to 2005, with brief interruptions, his wife Rabri Devi was the Chief Minister. Her political opponents often accused her as having served as his “surrogate.” His tenure as Chief Minister of the state has been criticized for lawlessness and has been termed as the Jungle Raj.
He is famous for his charismatic leadership and mass appeal, but has been criticized for promoting and encouraging caste-based politics and the corruption cases against him.
His father’s name is Shri Kundan Rai and his mother’s name is Shrimati Marchiya Devi. He holds a degree in Bachelor of Laws in 1970] and a master’s in Political science from B. N. College,under Patna University. He turned down Patna University’s Honorary Doctorate in 2004. Lalu Prasad Yadav has done his schooling from 1st standard to 7th standard, at Bihar Military Police No-5 middle school.He did matriculation in 1965. Yadav married Rabri Devi on 1 June 1973. They have seven daughters and two sons. His daughters are: Misha Bharti, Rohini Acharya, Chanda, Ragini,Dhannu, Hema, Lakshmi; Sons are Tej Pratap, Tejasvi.
Lalu Prasad Yadav served as the Chief Minister of Bihar two times, first for a term of five years from 10 March 1990 to 28 March 1995 and then for a term of three years from 4 April 1995 to 25 July 1997. Lalu Prasad Yadav also served as the Railway Minister of India from 2004 to 2009. He is member of Parliament of India for Saran(Chhapra) and National President of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
Lalu Prasad Yadav entered politics as General Secretary of the Patna University Students’ Union in 1970. He led the student movement inspired by Jai Prakash Narayan, Raj Narain, Karpoori Thakur and Satyendra Narayan Sinha. The former Chief Minister of Bihar and the then President of Bihar State Janata Party, Satyendra Narayan Sinha supported him as a candidate for the Lok Sabha and campaigned for him. He was elected as a member of the 6th Lok Sabha on a Janata Party ticket at the age 29, becoming one of the youngest members of the Indian Parliament at the time.
In a span of 10 years, Yadav became a formidable force in Bihar State politics, known for his popularity among the Muslim and Yadav voters. The Muslims in Bihar had traditionally served as a Congress (I) vote bank, but after the 1989 Bhagalpur violence, they shifted their loyalty to Yadav. During the Indian general elections in 1989 and state assembly elections, he successfully led the National Front coalition in Bihar. He was elected the Chief Minister leaving behind Ram Sundar Das, a former chief minister from the same party, when it came to power in the 1990 Assembly elections. The World Bank lauded his party for its work in the 1990s on the economic front.
A report was published by the BBC news in 1996 according to which the police unearthed a Rs.9.50 billion (US$267M), Fodder Scam in Bihar, which allegedly involved Yadav and the State’s leading bureaucrats and politicians, albeit the probe itself was ordered by him. He claimed it to be an Opposition conspiracy to stop his political growth. The fodder scam forced Yadav to resign from the office of Chief Minister and he made his wife, Rabri Devi, his successor as the state’s Chief Minister.
In May 2012, Lalu Prasad Yadav envisaged Hamid Ansari, currently the Vice-President, as a presidential candidate. In May, 2013, Lalu Yadav tried to rejuvenate the party and fuel the party workers in his Parivartan Rally.
Yadav formed the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in 5 July 1996, after breaking away from the Janata Dal. According to Limca Book of Records, he is the longest serving president of an Indian Political Party. He remained in power in Bihar for more than one and a half decades. In November 2005 elections, his party, the RJD, could win just 54 seats, which put his party in third place, after the Janata Dal United (JDU) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Nitish Kumar led coalition, consisting of JD(U) and BJP, came to power. In the 2010 elections, RJD tally was reduced to just 22 seats whereas the ruling alliance claimed a record 206 out of the 243 Assembly seats.
Yadav was elected to the 14th Lok Sabha from Chhapra and Madhepura seats of Bihar. He was able to defeat the high profile BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy from Chhapra and the JD(U) president Sharad Yadav from Madhepura. He became the railway minister in the UPA Government. Later, he gave up the Madhepura seat.
Yadav banned plastic cups from being used to serve tea at railway stations and ordered that they be replaced by kulhars (earthen cups), to generate more employment in rural areas. Later, he also said that he had plans to introduce buttermilk and kh?d?. In June 2004, he announced that he would get on the railway himself to inspect its problems and went on to board the Patna railway station at midnight.
When he took over, the Indian Railways was a loss-making organization. In the 4 years under his leadership, it made a cumulative total profit of Rs.250 billion (US $5.2 billion).
He left passenger fares untouched and found several other profitable sources of revenue for the Railways. He also improved on his first year’s performance by stating a profit of 140 billion with decreased freight and unchanged passenger fares in 2006. Then, in the 2007 budget, he increased the profit level to 200 billion with the introduction of cushion seats in all unreserved compartments. In 2008, profits were 250 billion (equals US $6.25 billion @ $1~Rs.40)
Well known schools of management were interested in Yadav’s leadership in managing the turnaround (with more or less the same IAS officers & the same workforce who worked under the previous ministers). He went to and addressed over a hundred students from Harvard, Wharton and others in Hindi. He has received invitations from 8 Ivy League schools for lectures. In August 2008, CNN-IBN alleged that Yadav had misused his position as the Union Railway Minister to help his relatives acquire land. Earlier Railway ministers and his political opponents Mamata Banerjee & Nitish Kumar have raised doubts over Lalu’s achievements.
Recently, a very popular book “Garibon ke Masiha Evam Jan Nayak – Lalu Prasad Yadav” was launched by renowned author and writer Sri Sanjay Suman .Yadav has a sizable fan following in Bollywood, which includes actors Sunil Shetty and Raza Murad and directors Mahesh Manjrekar and Mahesh Bhatt to name a few. Indian actor turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, who is a political opponent of Yadav, once said, “Had Yadav not been a politician he could have been an actor”. Mahesh Bhatt has gone to the extent of saying that Yadav deserves to become Prime Minister of India. A Bollywood movie titled Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav was released in 2004. Though his name appeared in the title, the movie was not about him, but had characters named Padmashreee, Laloo, Prasad and Yadav, however the politician made a guest appearance in it.
These incidences are viewed by some people as an attempt by the mainstream media to make deliberate fun of Yadav’s accent although the movie was not a big hit.
Yadav has been charged in several corruption cases, the most infamous being the “Fodder Scam” in which about Rs.9.50 billion (US $211.85 million) were siphoned off from the animal husbandry department. Laloo Yadav has been an accused in many of the 63-odd cases filed. He has been remanded to custody on multiple occasions because of the number of cases. Over 64 people have been convicted in the case. “Lalu accused in six fodder scam cases”. Outlook. 25 April 2005. Retrieved 2006-05-29.
“The ride to Ranchi”. Frontline. December 2001. Retrieved 2006-05-29. Yadav was first sent to “Judicial remand” (Bihar Military Police guest house, Patna) on 30 July 1997, for 134 days. On 28 October 1998, he was again sent to the same guest house for 73 days. When the Supreme Court of India took exception to his guest house stay, he had also moved to the Beur jail in Patna. He was later remanded for 11 days on 5 April 2000, in a disproportionate assets case. He surrendered along with his wife, Rabri Devi, and was sent to the Beur Jail. Due to the proceedings in the fodder scam, Yadav was remanded for a day in Beur jail on 28 November 2000.
On 26 November 2001, Yadav was again remanded, in a case related to the fodder scam. He accused the NDA of creating a conspiracy against him. On 1 October 2004, the Supreme Court of India served a notice to Yadav and his wife, Rabri Devi, on the fodder scam. This was in response to a petition, which alleged that they have been interfering with late in the investigation.
On 5 August 2004, Yadav claimed that L. K. Advani, a senior BJP leader and the Leader of the Opposition was an accused in a conspiracy to kill Muhammad Ali Jinnah and described him as an ‘international absconder’. On 14 September 2004, Lalu asked L. K. Advani to come clean on ‘his involvement’ in the alleged conspiracy to assassinate the founder of Pakistan, Mohammed Ali Jinnah.
On 28 September 2004, Lalu alleged Mr. Venkaiah Naidu, the then Union Rural Minister, of having sold 55,000 tonnes of wheat in the group of drought relief distribution in AP. “A CBI probe will be initiated to find the truth” he said.
While campaigning for Bihar elections in 2005, both Lalu Prasad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan used a look-alike of Osama bin Laden to woo Muslim voters. The look-alike would dress like bin Laden, accompany them in their helicopter to various election meetings, share the stage with them and make speeches that attacked the United States for its alleged anti-Muslim activities. Pramod Mahajan, senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party, had criticized both leaders for this by saying that they were “glorifying the name of a man who is recognised as the most wanted terrorist in the world.”