Digvijay&’s sympathy for Lalu part of Cong&’s gameplan?
Alok Kumar
[email protected]
New Delhi, 1 October
There seems to be a method behind Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh&’s statement expressing sadness over the conviction of RJD chief Lalu Prasad&’s conviction in the multi-crore fodder scam.
Reacting to news of Mr Prasad&’s conviction yesterday, Mr  Singh had said: “I am sad about the fact that Lalu Prasad Yadavji has been found guilty. He has been framed. And, I am hopeful that he will provide evidence in the higher court to prove his innocence.
“He has been a trusted and an old partner of the Congress,” he said.
Political observers who suspect an electoral strategy for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in this statement think it is part of a well thought strategy to placate Mr Prasad who must be hurt over Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi publicly denouncing the ordinance that could save him from being unseated from the Lok Sabha.
The Congress seems to be weighing the pros and cons of Lalu Prasad being completely decimated politically in Bihar. A strong Nitish without the fear of Lalu cutting into the Muslim vote-bank, observers feel, cannot be as pliant as a beleaguered Lalu, who unlike in 2009, would treat the Congress honourably while negotiating an electoral tie-up for 2014.
Even if Lalu does not get a reprieve from the higher court, the RJD-Congress alliance in Bihar can go to the polls as a nationally viable alternative to the resurgent BJP under Narendra Modi. 
Political analysts also do not rule out the possibility of a jailed Lalu generating a sympathy wave in his favour. The Congress leadership cannot overlook the fact that the RJD despite being devastated in the 2010 Assembly elections in Bihar had polled more than 18 per cent votes, less than four per cent of Nitish&’s JD-(U), by sheer dint of his MY (Muslim-Yadav) equation.
Besides, the Congress at this stage cannot afford to rule out the possibility of Lalu getting a reprieve from a higher court and going to the polls as a victim of a political conspiracy, said observers. Therefore the Congress is constrained to tread cautiously.