For nearly four decades, Laloo Prasad Yadav has been the axis around which politics revolves in Bihar. He is one of the most important political and social figures in the state in the post-independence era—first as a student leader and then as chief minister, either de jure or de facto. Since his conviction in fodder scam cases and serious health problems, he seems forlorn. Age is also catching up. Over and above, the antics of his eldest son, Tej Pratap, to divorce his wife Aishwarya, have not gone down well with him. Incidentally, Laloo’s daughter-in-law has an enviable heritage; her grandfather, Daroga Prasad Rai, was a former CM who had played a significant role to establish Laloo against the might of Ram Lakhan Singh Yadav, once the uncrowned leader of Yadavs in Bihar.
Laloo’s contribution till date and his present relevance can be measured at three levels. First, as a political figure who influenced the national discourse; second, as a figure who changed the social and political configuration in Bihar; and third, his record in the realm of governance and probity.