BHAGALPUR: A former lawmaker from Lalu Yadav’s RJD’s jungle raj days, Mohammad Shahabuddin, was granted bail earlier this week in a murder case, walked out today after 11 years in jail.
As he was escorted out of the prison, the four-term former MP from Siwan who has over 40 criminal cases against him and is serving a life sentence for murder, pledged allegiance to Lalu Yadav and took a swipe at Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar.
“Nitish Kumar is a leader of circumstances, my leader is Lalu Yadav,” said Mr Shahabuddin in an assessment of their partnership. He is a member of the RJD’s national executive.
Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar came together for the Bihar assembly elections last year in a common need to defeat the BJP and posted a handsome win. Though Lalu Yadav’s party won more seats, Nitish Kumar became chief minister in keeping with a pre-election agreement.
But when Mr Shahabuddin, had gone to jail in 2005, Lalu and Nitish were bitter political rivals; the Chief Minister, then an ally of the BJP, was credited with ending Mr Shahabuddin’s reign of terror in Siwan.
The changed equations reflected in the reaction of Nitish Kumar’s Janata Dal-United to Mr Shahabuddin’s dig at the chief minister. “Shahabuddin is the leader of RJD (Rashtriya Janata Dal) – our alliance partner. I wouldn’t want to comment on it,” said the party’s KC Tyagi.
“Shahabuddin has been released on bail and we mustn’t question the judgement of the courts and judiciary,” Mr Tyagi also added.