Chandrika Rai, a former Bihar minister and a confidant of Lalu Prasad, chief, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), who later became his relative through a matrimonial alliance, is all set to do a political somersault and join the ruling Janata Dal (United).
He is likely to join the JD(U) after he is discharged from Patna’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), where is undergoing treatment following contracting SARS-CoV-2, which causes coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
Rai, the son of former Bihar chief minister Daroga Prasad Rai, has made up his mind to contest the upcoming assembly elections – slated to be held in October-November – from his traditional Parsa assembly seat.
However, his next political move became evident from a social media post.
He appealed to his supporters to register their names, along with their mobile numbers, on JD (U)’s digital platform.
Rai, whose daughter Aishwarya was married to Prasad’s eldest son Tej Pratap in 2018 until it fell apart a few months later over marital discord that had hit the headlines and strained the ties between the two well-known political families of Bihar, has been a six-time lawmaker.
He had become a member of the Bihar legislative assembly (MLA) for the first time on a Congress ticket in 1985.
However, though he was denied a ticket by the Congress for a second successive term, he won as an Independent and later joined the RJD.
He was a prominent member of successive RJD governments, helmed by Prasad and then by his wife Rabri Devi following his indictment in the multi-crore fodder scam.
Rai was also a minister in the short-lived mahagathbandhan, or the grand alliance government, among the JD(U), the RJD and the Congress.
Speculations have been rife that Rai will join JD(U) since he quit the RJD in February.
He fell out with Prasad’s family after Tej Pratap filed for divorce months after marrying Aishwarya in 2018.
Later, Aishwarya had complained of being ill-treated by Prasad’s family members.
In the 2019 parliamentary election, Prasad had fielded Rai from the Saran Lok Sabha seat, despite Tej Pratap Yadav’s stiff opposition.
Rai had lost to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajiv Pratap Rudy, a former Union minister.
Though Rai quit the RJD in February, he had snapped all ties with the party prior to that, as he had stopped attending its organisational meetings.
RJD has chalked out plans to checkmate Rai’s next political move. The party has inducted Rai’s niece Karishma Rai, the daughter of his elder brother Bidhan Chandra Rai, on July 19 and is considering to field her against him from the Parsa assembly seat.
In Bihar’s family political saga, one more scene-stealer appears to be on the cards.