|Minister of Railways|
24 May 2004 – 23 May 2009
|Prime Minister||Manmohan Singh|
|Preceded by||Nitish Kumar|
|Succeeded by||Mamata Banerjee|
|20th Chief Minister of Bihar|
4 April 1995 – 25 July 1997
|Preceded by||President's rule|
|Succeeded by||Rabri Devi|
10 March 1990 – 28 March 1995
|Preceded by||Jagannath Mishra|
|Succeeded by||President's rule|
|Member of the Indian Parliament|
24 May 2004 – 22 May 2009
|Preceded by||Rajiv Pratap Rudy|
|Succeeded by||Constituency delimitated|
2 December 1989 – 13 March 1991
|Preceded by||Rambahadur Singh|
|Succeeded by||Lal Babu Rai|
23 March 1977 – 22 August 1979
|Preceded by||Ramshekhar Prasad Singh|
|Succeeded by||Staya Deo Singh|
|Born||11 June 1948|
Phulwariya , Gopalganj, Bihar, India
|Political party||Rashtriya Janata Dal|
|Relations||Tej Pratap Singh Yadav (Son in law)|
|Children||9, including Tejashwi Yadav, Tej Pratap Yadav, Misa Bharti|
|Parents||Kundan Ray (father)|
Marachhiya Devi (mother)
Lalu Prasad (born 11 June 1948) is an Indian politician from the state of Bihar. He is the president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, former chief minister of Bihar, former UPA minister of railways, and former member of Parliament of the 15th Lok Sabha. He entered politics at Patna University as a student leader and was elected as then youngest member of the Lok Sabha in 1977 as a Janata Party candidate at the age of 29. He became the chief minister of Bihar in 1990. From 1997 to 2005 his wife Rabri Devi ruled as the Chief Minister of the state. His party came to power in 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election in partnership with Nitish Kumar of JD(U), but Nitish Kumar dumped Prasad's party from power in July 2017.
Early and personal life
Lalu, second of his parents' six sons, was born in Phulwaria in Bihar to Kundan Ray and Marachhiya Devi, and attended a local middle school before moving to Patna with his elder brother. After completing Bachelor of Laws and a Ph.D. in Political Science from B. N. College of Patna University, he worked as clerk in Bihar Veterinary College at Patna where his elder brother was also a peon. He turned down Patna University's Honorary Doctorate in 2004.
|Tej Pratap Yadav||Elder son||Married Aishwarya Ray, granddaughter of Bihar's ex-CM Daroga Prasad Rai||ex Health Minister of Bihar|
|Tejashwi Yadav||Younger son||ex-cricketer, ex Deputy Chief Minister of Bihar|
|Dr. Misa Bharti||1st daughter (eldest)||Married a software engineer Shailesh Kumar in 1999||Misa was nominated as Rajya Sabha MP by RJD in 2016|
|Rohini Acharya||2nd daughter||Married to Rao Samaresh Singh in May 2002||Samaresh is a US-based commerce graduate from SRCC Delhi, son of Rao Ranvijay Singh of Arwal|
|Chanda Singh||3rd daughter||Married an Indian Airlines pilot Vikram Singh in 2006|
|Ragini Yadav||4th daughter||Married to Rahul Yadav, son of Jitendra Yadav in 2012||Jitendra is SP's MLC, now an INC member and resident of Sarfabad village in Noida|
|Hema Yadav||5th daughter||Married to Vineet Yadav, who is from a political family|
|Anushka Rao||6th daughter||Married to Chiranjeev Rao son of Capt. Ajay Singh Yadav of the INC||Ajay is ex Power Minister of Haryana who had legal issues related to a land scam in Solan|
|Rajlaxmi Singh||7th daughter (youngest)||Married to Tej Pratap Singh Yadav in 2015||SP's ex-Lok Sabha MP Tej Pratap Singh Yadav is the grand-nephew of Mulayam Singh Yadav|
1970–1990: Student politics
In 1970, Lalu entered in student politics as the general secretary of the Patna University Students' Union (PUSU), became its president in 1973, joined Jai Prakash Narayan' Bihar Movement in 1974 where he became sufficiently close to Janata Party (JP) leaders to become the Janta alliance's winning candidate in the 1977 Lok Sabha election from Chapra at the age of 29. In 1979, the Janata Party government fell due to in-fighting.The parliament was dissolved with new polls held in 1980. Lalu quit Janta party to join the splinter group, Janta Party-S led by Raj Narain, only to lose the re-election in 1980.He managed to win Bihar Legislative Assembly election later in 1980, and again in 1985 to become leader of opposition in Bihar assembly in 1989.Later in 1989, he was also elected for Lok Sabha under V. P. Singh government.By 1990, he positioned himself as the leader of Yadav (11.7% of the Bihar's) and lower castes. Muslims, who had traditionally served as Congress (I) vote bank, shifted their support to Prasad after the 1989 Bhagalpur violence. He became popular among the young voters of Bihar.
1990–1997: Lalu and wife as chief ministers of Bihar
In 1990, Janata Dal came to power in Bihar. PM V. P. Singh wanted former chief minister Ram Sundar Das to lead the government. and Chandra Shekhar backed Raghunath Jha. To break deadlock deputy PM Devi Lal nominated Prasad as CM candidate. He was victorious in an internal poll of Janta Dal MLA's and became the chief minister. On 23 September 1990, Prasad arrested L. K. Advani at Samastipur during the latter's Ram Rath Yatra to Ayodhya, which establish himself as a secular leader among the people of Bihar. The World Bank lauded his party for its work in the 1990s on the economic front. In 1993, Prasad adopted a pro-English policy and pushed for the re-introduction of English as a language in school curriculum, contrary to the angrezi hatao (banish English) policy of then Uttar Pradesh CM Mulayam Singh Yadav. Policy of opposition to English was considered an anti-elite policy since both the Yadav leaders represented the same social constituents - the backward castes, dalits and minority communities. With the mass support of people of Bihar, Lalu continued to be Bihar CM.
1998–2002: Formation of RJD and out of power
In 1997, due to allegation related to Fodder Scam, a leadership revolt surfaced in Janta Dal, consequently Lalu broke away from Janta Dal and formed a new political party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). In 1998 general for 12th Lok Sabha Lalu won from Madhepura, but lost in 1999 general election to Sharad Yadav. In 2000 Bihar Legislative Assembly election he won and remained in opposition.
2002–2005: RJD and Rabri rule in Bihar
In 2002, Lalu was elected in Rajya Sabha where he stayed till 2004. In 2002, RJD formed the government with Rabri Devi as the CM. Except for brief President rule and 8 days term of Nitish Kumar, RJD remained in power in Bihar till 2005.
2004–2009: Railway Minister
In 2004, Yadav contested general election from Chhapra and Madhepura against Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Sharad Yadav respectively and won from both the seats with a huge margin with the great support and faith of people of Bihar. In total, RJD won 21 seats and it allied with Indian National Congress becoming second-largest member of UPA I after Congress. Yadav became the railway minister in the 2004 UPA Government. Later, he gave up the Madhepura seat.
As railway minister, Yadav left passenger fares untouched and focused on other sources of revenue for the railways. He banned plastic cups from being used to serve tea at railway stations and replaced those with kulhars (earthen cups), in order to generate more employment in rural areas. Later, he also said that he had plans to introduce buttermilk and khādī. 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 organisation. In the four years under his leadership, it showed a cumulative total profit of Rs.250 billion (US$5.2 billion). According to CAG, it was the new practice of issuing a "statement of cash and investible surplus" that helped Lalu project a rosy picture. In 2008, the profits shown were ₹25,000 crore (US$3.5 billion). Schools of management became interested in Yadav's leadership in managing the turnaround The alleged turnaround was introduced as a case study by the prestigious Indian Institute of Management. Yadav also received invitations from eight Ivy League schools for lectures, and addressed over a hundred students from Harvard, Wharton and others in Hindi.
Harvard Business School and HEC Management School, France, have shown interest in turning Lalu’s experiment with the Railway into case studies for aspiring big graduates.
2005–2010: RJD out of power in Bihar
In November 2005 state elections RJD won 54 seats, less than both 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, the RJD tally was reduced to just 22 seats whereas the ruling alliance claimed a record 206 out of the 243 Assembly seats.
2009–2014: Out of power in center and Bihar
In 2009 general election RJD won 4 seats and provided outside support to Manmohan Singh government. In May 2012, Lalu Prasad Yadav envisaged Hamid Ansari, previous 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. After the conviction in Fodder Scam on 3 October 2013, Yadav was disqualified from the membership of Lok Sabha.
In 2014 general election, Lalu Yadav's RJD again won 4 seats. Lalu Yadav has been working on a merger of six parties to form a Janata Parivar.
2015–current: Conviction in 2 fodder scam cases
In the 2015 Bihar Legislative Assembly election, Lalu Yadav's RJD became the largest party with a total of 81 seats. He along with his partner Nitish Kumar of JD(U) had the absolute majority to form a government in Bihar. This was cited as a major comeback for the RJD and for Lalu Yadav on the political stage of Bihar after a gap of 10 years. But that suffocating alliance did not last long as Nitish Kumar dumped and ousted Lalu's party from the power and alliance in July 2017 after the Enforcement Directorate and Central Bureau of Investigation lodged several criminal cases against Lalu's son and Deputy Chief Minister, Tejashwi Yadav.
Chronology of political career
- 1977: Elected to the 6th Lok Sabha at the age of 29.
- 1980–1989: Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly (two terms).
- 1989: A Leader of Opposition of Bihar Legislative Assembly, Chairman of Pustakalaya Committee, Convenor of Committee on Public Undertakings. Re-elected to the 9th Lok Sabha (2nd term).
- 1990–1995: Member of the Bihar Legislative Council.
- 1990–1997: Chief Minister of Bihar
- 1995–1998: Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly.
- 1996: Lalu implicated in Fodder Scam
- 1997: Splits from Janata Dal to form Rashtriya Janata Dal.
- 1998: Re-elected to 12th Lok Sabha (3rd term).
- 1998–1999: Member of General Purposes Committee, Committee on Home Affairs and its Sub Committee on Swatantrata Sainik Samman Pension Scheme, Consultative Committee of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- 2004: Re-elected to the 14th Lok Sabha (4th term). Appointed Cabinet Minister in the Ministry of Railways in UPA govt. Lalu, wife Rabri Devi, son Tejashwi Yadav and daughter Misa Bharti booked for railway tender bribery scam, disproportionate illegal property and income tax evasion cases in 2017.
- 2009: Re-elected to the 15th Lok Sabha (5th term) and disqualified in 2013 subsequent to his conviction in the first fodder scam case.
- 2020: RJD declares Lalu as mahagathbandhan coordinator for Assembly polls.
Populist policies and consolidation of lower castes
According to Seyed Hossein Zarhani, though Laloo Prasad became a hate figure among Forward Castes, he drew huge support from backward castes and Dalits. He was criticised for neglecting development but a study conducted during his reign among downtrodden Musahars revealed that though the construction of houses for them hasn't been concluded at required pace, still they will choose Laloo as he returned them their "ijjat"(honour) and for the first time they are allowed to vote.A number of populist policies which directly impacted his backward caste supporters were launched during his tenure. Some of these being; establishment of "Charvaha schools", where children of poor could get skilled; abolishment of cess on toddy and more importantly the negligence of rules related to reservation for backward castes were made cognizable offence.Laloo mobilised backwards through his identity politics.According to his conception, Forward Castes were elite in the outlook and thus he portrayed himself as, "Messiah of backwards" by ensuring that his way of living remain identical to his supporters who were mostly poor. He even continued to reside in his quarter of one room after getting elected as Chief Minister, though later he moved to official residence of the CM for administrative convinience.
Another significant event during his regime was the recruitment of backward castes and communities to government services in large numbers.The Government's white paper claimed to have significant number of vacancies in health sector and similar manpower crunch existed across various sectors.The rules of recruitment were changed drastically in order to benefit backward castes who supported Laloo. The frequent transfer of existing officers, who were at the higher echelon of bureaucracy was also an important feature of Laloo and Rabri Devi regime.These developments led to collapse of administration and entire system.Yadav however continued to rule Bihar due to massive support from backward castes as well as his emphasis on "honour" which he considered more important than the development.Thus according to Zarhani, for the lower caste he was a charismatic leader who was capable to become the voice of those who were silent for long.
Another form of mobilisation of his Dalit supporters by Laloo Yadav was popularising all those folk heroes of lower castes, who were said to have vanquished the upper caste adversaries.One such example is of a popular Dalit saint who was revered as he not only ran away with an upper caste girl but also suppressed all her kins. Praising him could enrage Bhumihar caste in some parts of Bihar.There is a grand celebration every year at a particular place near Patna and Yadav participates in this fair with pomp and show.His energetic participation in this show makes it a rallying point for Dalits, who saw it as their victory and the harassment of upper castes. 
According to Kalyani Shankar, Lalu created a feeling amongst the oppressed that they are real rulers of state under him. He continuously lambasted the oppressors on the behalf of the oppressed and led to their emergence as the pivot of political power.The upper caste who composed just 13.2% of the population were controlling most of the land while the backwards who were 51% own very little land.With the advent of Lalu thd economic profile of the state changed too with the backward caste diversifying their occupational pattern as well as controlling more swathes of land.
As already stated, Lalu installed a sense of confidence among Muslims by stopping Lal Krishna Advani's controversial "Rath yatra". Muslims of Bihar were feeling a sense of insecurity after the ghastly 1989 Bhagalpur riots.The Satyendra Narayan Singh government failed to control law and order situation thus death toll reached over 1000.The people affected were mostly poor weavers and others belonging to low strata of society and hence they were looking for a leader who could control the deteriorating situation of state under Congress.According to Kalyani, during this period upper castes were totally marginalised and backwards came to control the power firmly. 
Corruption, conviction and criticism
Yadav has been convicted and jailed in two scams. As of January 2018, he, his wife, his sons Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, and his daughter Misa Bharti were all facing charges in several other corruption cases.
1996 Fodder Scam – 1st case
Yadav was an accused party and later convicted in the first Fodder Scam case of 1996. The case involved the siphoning off of about ₹ 4.50 billion ($ 111.85 million) from the animal husbandry department.
Several allegations of embezzlement from the animal husbandry department were tabled between 1990–95. In January 1996, a raid conducted on Chaibasa treasury indicated the siphoning off of funds by non-existent companies. Yadav ordered an inquiry to probe the irregularities. However, after a public interest litigation, the Bihar High Court in March 1996 ordered the case to be handed over to the CBI. In June 1997, the CBI filed the charge sheet in the case and made Yadav an accused. The charge forced Yadav to resign from the office of Chief Minister, at which time he appointed his wife, Rabri Devi, to the office.
In 2001, the Supreme Court of India transferred the scam cases to newly-formed court in Ranchi, Jharkhand. The trial began in 2002. In August 2013, Yadav tried to get the trial court judge transferred, but his plea was rejected by Supreme Court of India. Yadav has been an accused in many of the 53-odd cases filed. He has been remanded to custody on multiple occasions because of the number of cases. Over 64 people were convicted in the case. 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 took exception to his guest house stay, he had also moved to the Beur jail in Patna. On 26 November 2001, Yadav was again remanded, in a case related to the fodder scam. Yadav accused the NDA of creating a conspiracy against him. On 1 October 2004, the Supreme Court served a notice to Yadav and his wife in response to a petition which alleged that they have been interfering with the investigation.
Yadav, along with 44 other accused, was convicted on 30 September 2013 after being found guilty in fraudulent withdrawal of ₹ 37 crores (₹ 370 million) from Chaibasa treasury. Several other politicians, IAS officers were also convicted in the case. Immediately after the verdict was pronounced, Yadav was arrested and taken to Birsa Munda Central Jail, located at Ranchi. Yadav was disqualified as MP for six years. He was given a jail sentence of five years and a fine of 25 lakh rupees.
He was released on bail from Birsa Munda Central Jail, after he completed the bail formalities in a Special CBI court, two-and-a-half months after his conviction.
1998 disproportionate assets case
In 1998, a disproportionate assets case arising out of the fodder scam was registered against Yadav and Rabri Devi. In April 2000, both were made co-accused in the charge-sheet and surrendered. While Rabri Devi got bail due to being Chief Minister of Bihar, Yadav was remanded in Beur jail for 11 days. They were acquitted in 2006. The Bihar government wanted to appeal against the acquittal but the Supreme Court in 2010 ruled that the state government can not challenge such rulings.
1996 Fodder Scam – 2nd case
Yadav was convicted and jailed in the second Fodder Scam case of INR8.927 million on the same day 23 December 2017 when his daughter Misa Bharti was also charged by the Enforcement Directorate of having disproportionate assets. Yadav was convicted 23 December 2017 and sentenced on 6 January 2018 to 3½ years' imprisonment and INR1,000,000 fine) for the fraudulent withdrawal of INR8,900,000 from the Deoghar district treasury between 1990 and 1994.
1996 Fodder Scam – 3rd case
1996 Fodder Scam – 4th case
Yadav was convicted by the special CBI court in the fourth fodder scam case relating to alleged withdrawal of Rs 3.13 crore from the Dumka district treasury over two decades ago. CBI Judge awarded him two separate sentences of seven years each under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Prevention of Corruption Acts.
1996 Fodder Scam – 5th case
2005 Indian Railway tender scam
2005 Indian Railway tender scam, investigated by the CBI, is the bribery and corruption case where Lalu Prasad Yadav and his family are charged for illegally receiving prime property from the bidder as a bribe for corruptly awarding the Railway tender during Yadav's tenure as Railway Minister. Transfer of these properties as bribe to Yadav and his children were disguised using the shell companies; for example, wife Rabri Devi and three children, Misa Bharti, Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav, received Saguna Mor Mall property worth INR 45 crore through a shell company named Delight Marketing (renamed as Lara properties), and another shell company AB Exports was used to transfer properties worth INR 40 crore for a price of INR 4 lakh to Lalu's other three children Tejashwi Yadav, Ragini and Chanda. This case spawned several other related but independent cases, such as disproportionate assets case as well as tax avoidance case by ED. Under the Benami Transactions Prohibition Act recipient of such benami properties can be imprisoned for up to 7 years and fined up to 25% fair market value, and convicted politicians are barred from contesting elections or holding elected position for six years.
2017 Delight Properties case
Investigated by the Enforcement Directorate (ED), against Yadav, his wife, son Tejashwi, daughter Misa and others, arose from the alleged illegal proceeds of the 2005 Indian Railway tender scam. The I-T department issued summons for 12 June 2017 to Misa Bharti, over Benami land deals worth Rs. 10 billion. Misa was officially charged by ED in disproportionate assets case on the same day her father was convicted again in the second fodder scam. After the CBI lodged an FIR on 5 July 2017, ED filed the Case Information Report (ECIR) on 27 July 2017 against Lalu, his wife Rabri, their younger son Tejashwi Prasad Yadav and others in the railways tender corruption and ill-gotten property scam that happened during Lalu's tenure as the Railway Minister. Taking action against this scam, ED of Income Tax Department on 12 September 2017 attached more than 12 properties in Patna and Delhi including the plot for the mall in Patna, a farm house in Delhi and up-market land in Palam Vihar in Delhi. This includes the transfer of INR450 million (45 crore) Seguna mor benami property transferred to Lalu's wife Rabri Devi and children Tejashwi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav by using a shell company named Delight Properties, which was later renamed as Lara Properties. (Updated: 7 Jan 2018)
2017 AB Exports cases
AB Exports was a shell company used to transfer, as a bribe for the railway tender scam, INR400 million (40 crore) benami property for a mere price of INR400,000 to Lalu's 3 children Tejashwi Yadav, Ragini Yadav and Chanda Singh. ED has attached this property and booked the 3 accused children of Lalu. (Updated: 7 Jan 2018)
2017 Patna zoo soil scam
2017 Patna zoo soil scam is a allegation/case against Lalu Prasad Yadav and his sons Tej Pratap Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav for the "gross irregularities" of selling soil from the construction of Tej Pratap's Saguna Mor mall basement. The bogus beautification scheme was for Rs 90 lakh to Patna zoo without inviting any tenders when Tej Pratap was the minister of environment and forest in Bihar, a department that controls the zoo. The scam came to the light in April 2017, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in Patna High Court in October 2017, court ordered the Bihar government to furnish the details of investigation, following which the case was handed over to Bihar Vigilance Investigation Bureau (VIB) department for the investigation under the Pollution Control Board Act, the Environment Protection Act and Wildlife Protection Act (1972) (update: 6 Jan 2018).
The Bihar government said that official procedure was duly followed in the case and prima facie no evidence of irregularity has come into light in zoo soil deal. (Updated: 31 May 2020)
Corruption, nepotism and dynasticism
Yadav is one of the first noted politicians to lose parliamentary seat on being arrested in fodder scam as per Supreme Court decision banning convicted legislators to hold their posts. During his tenure as Chief Minister, Bihar's law and order was at lowest, kidnapping was on rise and private armies mushroomed. He was criticised in 2002 as his supporters lifted cars, furniture from showrooms in Patna to be used in wedding of his daughter.
Lalu Prasad has written his autobiography named Gopalganj to Raisina Road.
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- Padmashree Laloo Prasad Yadav, the Bollywood movie was released in 2005. It was based on a girl named Padmshree, her Boyfriend Laloo, her Laywer Prasad and Yadav was Lalu Prasad himself as a special appearance.
- Upcoming Bhojpuri film Lalten is a biopic based on the life of Lalu Prasad.
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Ramshekhar Prasad Singh
| Member of Parliament
Satya Deo Singh
Rajiv Pratap Rudy
| Member of Parliament
Lal Babu Rai
Ram Bahadur Singh
| Member of Parliament
Constituency does not exist
Constituency does not exist
| Member of Parliament
Rajiv Pratap Rudy
| Minister of Railways
25 May 2004 – 18 May 2009
| Chief Minister of Bihar