On way to Patna, Lalu in poll mode

At 8 am on Tuesday, Lalu Prasad was lounging on a chair on the lawns of the state guest house in Ranchi's Morhabadi. Soon afterwards, a convoy of 100-odd cars snaked through four Jharkhand districts as Lalu headed for Patna after spending 79 days in jail.

Addressing meetings along the way, his focus was on one man. It was not the Bihar CM. "Nitish is not even a factor in the 2014 election. He is a no-factor," Lalu said. It was Narendra Modi who got the stick. "He wants to divide our country in the name of Ram and Rahim and rule Hastinapur... When he comes to power, our youngsters will be the worst victims... Remember 1947, brothers," Lalu told the crowd at Hazaribagh.

Welcome parties of the RJD awaited at almost every town in Hazaribagh and Koderma. Lalu took contrarian stands on Lokpal Bill and Aam Aadmi Party. "They initially wanted to keep the Parliament below Lokpal. I opposed that. Now they say Lokpal, Lokpal, Lokpal. So I said, "Pass it"!" he said at the Ranchi guest house. Later, he clarified: "I was opposed to the initial version of the Bill. This one, I am fine with."

On the AAP, he indicated it would be a fleeting phenomenon. "Chala jayega...They are fooling people with the promise of free electricity."

"We will support the Congress this election. Whoever they choose as leader is acceptable to us. No neta in our country is unfit to be PM," he said in Ranchi. After a circuitous route through Muslim-dominated Bihar Sharif in Nalanda and Yadav-dominated Bakhtiyarpur in Patna district, Lalu arrived in Patna at 11 pm.

Driver dies as car in convoy falls into gorge

BIHAR SHARIF: One person died and sev-en were injured when a car in Lalu Prasad's convoy slipped off the road and fell into a Koderma Valley on Tuesday. "Santosh Kumar, the driver died. Seven are injured. There was no collision. The car fell 25 feet. All are from Sitalpur village of Bihar's Chhapra district," said a police official. ENS

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