February 01, 2005

Bihar's kidnapraj

Author: Editor

Publication: Free Press Journal

Date: February 1, 2005


With the kidnapping of yet another child from a school, an
atmosphere of fear is spreading among parents and children in Bihar. Lalu
Prasad Yadav and his chief minister wife are trying to play down the
seriousness of the incidents by saying that in a day or two, they would
reveal the whole truth about the disappearance of these girls and boy. On
the eve of the assembly elections, these kidnappings have given another
dimension to the general description of Laluraj as near-anarchic
``jungle raj''.

There have been kidnapping of doctors, engineers and businessmen
by organised crime syndicates, when Lalu Yadav's government has been
less than stringent or positive in enforcing the laws of the land. That
is how the kidnapping of an eminent surgeon for ransom led to his
murder. Doctors of both government and private hospitals walked out in
protest, causing a total breakdown of hospital services in Bihar. Lalu Yadav
did not move in even then to put an end to the mafia raj once and for

Such laxity has emboldened the crooks and criminals who lead a
luxurious life on the lam. Now with the assembly elections fast
approaching, Lalu Yadav, who is fighting with his back to the wall, is losing
face. School children braved heavy rains and led a procession to the Raj
Bhavan the other day, seeking the governor's intervention in getting
their friends released. It is but rare that the President expresses his
concern on such occasions.

President Abdul Kalam has not only expressed his concern but has
asked his secretary to be in hourly touch with the Bihar officials to
get the latest on the abduction of the children. Lalu Yadav appeared on
the political arena, speaking populist rhetoric which drew vast crowds
of Yadavs, backward classes and the minority community. Posing as the
saviour of these classes, Lalu Yadav has had a field day and routed the
Congress effortlessly. The honeymoon period lasted full five years in
which nothing was done to raise the standard of living of the Dalits or
the Muslims, though some of the Yadav henchmen profited here and there.

The second term was equally arid. No chief minister can hide a
backtrack on promises for long. Even the backward classes cannot be fed
on the pap of false promises for years. And with Lalu Yadav's
involvement in financial scams, he installed his wife as chief minister who
cannot distinguish between a file for final signature and a file for the
chief minister's decision. Thus fifteen wasted years of bizarre governance
have alienated the suffering classes who have been continuously subject
to the fury of caste armies of the land-owning classes.

The only thing that has flourished in this period has been Lalu
Yadav's hype about himself and how he, who has given the poor a voice,
would lead them to the promised land. Something which neither the
backwards nor the Muslims accept on its face value. Lalu Yadav's doozy
promises have no takers today among the minority community and large section
of the backwards.

Is the Muslim community looking towards the Congress? It is not
easy to answer. That Lalu Yadav cannot rest on his oars as in the past
is certain. Though the Congress is not openly going to challenge Lalu
Yadav in Bhagalpur and other places, Sonia Gandhi is hovering over those
regions in an optimistic parade. With Ram Vilas Paswan opposing Lalu
Yadav openly, Lalu Yadav's problems are worsening.

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