Unreasonable Person of the Week

Lalu Prasad

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For issuing orders to government officials in Bihar
When Nitish Kumar made an alliance with Lalu Prasad, the biggest fear was that, once in power, the latter would decide that he wanted to rule Bihar from a backseat. And when his party Rashtriya Janata Dal got more seats than Nitish’s Janata Dal-United, then the possibility became even more real.

This week found all those fears coming home when it became known that Lalu had ordered some health department officials to reinstate maternity ward workers in government hospitals whose services had been terminated. The opposition has accused Lalu of being a ‘super Chief Minister’ and if not checked at this stage, it might well come to pass. Lalu is the leader of his party but he has no locus standi to demand anything directly of Bihar government officers.

The letter written by a health officer to a functionary of a government hospital asking for the reinstatement of the workers explicitly mentions that he is doing so under Lalu’s instructions. The reason Bihar voted for the JD-U-RJD combine was the promise of good governance under the chief ministership of Nitish Kumar. Should Lalu now take the onus of ruling Bihar upon himself, the people of the state would consider their mandate thwarted. Given how they suffered during the lawless days of Lalu’s chief ministership, they might even rise in protest.