Is the Bihar coalition government in trouble? Are Lalu’s clan members seriously enmeshed in corruption scandals with him? Is Narendra Modi, the head of the federal government, wrecking political vendetta on his arch opponent? Is the BJP salivating to come to power even if it means embracing a betrayer?
These are some of the questions the resident Biharis and “the Biharis away from Bihar” must be haunted by. How does this latest set of unfolding drama look like from abroad?
On the BJP’s part, perhaps, it does pass the smell test of a political vendetta: The party couldn’t defeat Lalu-in-alliance-with-Nitish politically in the last elections; therefore, it’s now harassing him with all the government bureaus available by virtue of being in power at the center.
However, it also seems quite likely that Lalu tutored his kids how to make foul money, but didn’t provide them enough lessons in how to turn them into white money or conceal them. They have skipped so many appearances before the relevant investigations.
The pictures of the three upscale farmhouses located in Ghitorni, Bijwasan and Sainik Farms must be dazzling to the eyes of most of the NRIs as well. Many Biharis settled abroad could hardly dream of such mansions.
The two farmhouses reportedly belonged to Lalu’s daughter, Misa Bharti, her husband Shailesh Kumar and the third was registered in the name of M/s Mishail Printers and Packers Private Limited. Mishail can safely be broken into Misa and Shail, right?
Shailesh Kumar might turn out to be the Jared Kushner (Donald Trump’s son in law) of Bihar.
Very simple questions: Could the combined income of Misa and Shailesh since they became earning adults afford them to buy all such properties? Is this not a Disproportionate Assets case? Are these assets not covering up the illegitimate money made elsewhere?
Most importantly: Is this not an insulting slap in the face of millions of hardworking Biharis who barely make their both ends meet honestly. And yes, majority of them are the members of Lalu’s OBCs, the Scheduled Castes and the Muslims.
Also, notice almost all accused accomplices of Lalu in the current scandals are from outside Bihar and from outside his caste. The RJD MP, P. C. Gupta from Haryana has long been rumored as Lalu’s fund keeper and manager. Others arrested include a Chartered Accountant, Rajesh Aggarwal, and the two Jains -- Surender and Virender -- partners in business with Misa and Shailesh. Lalu apparently didn't trust anyone from his own social base, the mainstay of his politics. He did, however, extort land and money from some of them who were given political favors.
Biharis must also ask this question: What did Lalu and his family members learn from his Fodder Scam ordeal/experience? As a father, what lesson and training did he have for his kids?
Or, is this like father, like kids?
And a final question (to which I will return later): Was this entire act of financial wheeling and dealing -- past and present -- not known to Nitish Kumar, the Sushasan Babu?
Dr. Binoy Shanker Prasad hails from Darbhanga and currently resides with his family in Dundas, Ontario (Canada). A former UGC teacher fellow (at JNU) in India and Fulbright scholar in the USA, he has taught politics and authored conference papers, articles and chapters on Bihar in previously published books in the United States, India, and Canada.
Dr. Prasad administers a Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/OverseasBihari and has sponsored “Aware Citizenship Campaign” at a micro-level in his home-town.