Court dismisses plea challenging Lalu Prasad being RJD chief

Patna: The Patna High Court Thursday dismissed a petition by a rebel RJD legislator contending that under the rules, Lalu Prasad cannot be the party president after his conviction in the fodder scam.

The verdict will come as a big relief to the Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo, who is busy campaigning for the last leg of the Lok Sabha polls.

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Early this month, rebel lawmaker Samrat Choudhary had filed the petition, contending that Lalu Prasad cannot be the RJD chief as under the party constitution no convicted person can head the party.

A bench of the court during hearing of the case observed that as Choudhary had approached the Election Commission last month in this connection, he should wait for its decision.

According to Choudhary’s lawyer, the court said that as it is election time no judgment can be pronounced on the plea.

Choudhary, in his complaint to the poll panel, demanded that it cancel the nomination of RJD candidates because the party symbol was distributed with the signature of a convicted Lalu Prasad.

After he filed the case, Lalu Prasad had dismissed the charges against him as “baseless” and “useless”.

“There is no such party constitution that prevents me from being the party president,” Lalu Prasad said, adding that Choudhary had betrayed the RJD and is a defector.

Choudhary was the chief whip of the RJD in the assembly before he revolted in February. He submitted a letter with the signatures of 13 legislators stating they were quitting the RJD and requested the Bihar assembly speaker that they be recognised as a separate group.

The speaker recognised them as a separate group, creating a controversy as Lalu Prasad alleged that he acted in violation of the anti-defection law.

Nine of the 13 legislators later returned to the party fold.