Though the issue of Mohammad Shahabuddin has almost gone stale in media with his return to jail after the Supreme Court cancelled his bail that had been granted to him by Patna High Court, the episode has been haunting both RJD chief Lalu Prasad (Bade Bhai) and JD(U) leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (Chhote Bhai) with equal effect. Both the leaders refer to one another as Bade Bhai and Chhote Bhai.
Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader and strongman of Siwan, Shahabuddin was over-confident that, being the largest partner of the Bihar government, Bade Bhai would be able to pressure his Chhote Bhai to slow down on his issue. In the ruling alliance, Lalu’s RJD has 80 MLAs, followed by 71 from Janata Dal (U) and 33 legislators from the Congress. Hence, the jailed criminal-turned-politician felt cheated by Lalu Prasad when the latter failed in stopping the state government from going to the apex court against his bail.
Also, the terror of Siwan tried his best to persuade the RJD chief to engage noted lawyer and party Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani to argue for his case in the Supreme Court. But, Lalu apparently turned deaf ears towards his move. Still, Shahabuddin was hopeful that he would succeed in roping in the veteran advocate to deal his case. If rumours are to be believed, the lawyer quoted a very fat amount, which was beyond the reach of the fugitive.
In the meantime, Shahabuddin’s loyalists conducted a strong protest march against the arrest of their master in Siwan and demanded his immediate release from the prison. They did not stop here but also openly held both Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar responsible for the plight of their boss. They also organised a meeting at a hotel in Siwan, where they unanimously resolved to teach the two leaders a severe lesson during the elections, as Mohammad Shahabuddin, before he was re-sent to jail, had also threatened of applying harsh methods during elections to ensure defeat of Nitish Kumar.
Of late, while speaking to select media persons, Heena Shahab, wife of Mohammad Shahabuddin, hinted that she would not be sitting idle to see ‘atrocities’ being meted out on her husband at the behest of the power in Bihar. She made it clear that she would contest elections as a candidate of any political party. “No party is untouchable for me,” she told a journalist.
Bade Bhai and Chhote Bhai are very much in the know that Shahabuddin has emerged as a sole and strong leader of the minority community in the state. His aggressiveness is liked by the people belonging to his community. He also enjoys good support among the Hindus, which is easily understood from the massive crowed that assembled to welcome him when he was freed from the Bhagalpur jail on September 10. Dozens of legislators, besides half a dozen ministers belonging to the parties in power, were spotted travelling in his long carcade that originated from Bhagalpur and ended at Siwan.