Rabri Devi silent, son Tej Pratap Yadav steps in
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As Lalu Prasad was sentenced to five years in prison on Thursday, his family in Patna showed no visible signs of either defiance or disappointment, and did not appear to be in a hurry to address the public.
Former chief minister Rabri Devi did not come out of her official 10 Circular Road residence, but was learnt to be calm, and met RJD leaders Kanti Singh, Vina Shahi and Raghunath Jha.
Lalu's aide and Rajya Sabha MP Ramkripal Yadav and RJD's media in-charge Randhir Yadav spoke to reporters after returning from Ranchi. "Lalu Prasad is a hero and will remain a hero in future too," Ramkripal quoted Rabri as having said.
Ramkripal also said that Rabri had said that Lalu was a "victim of a conspiracy" by the BJP and Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. "We were expecting this... We are not demoralised," Ramkripal said.
Behind the shut green gates of the family residence, Tej Pratap Yadav, the eldest son of Lalu and Rabri, was seen speaking animatedly with leaders of the RJD's youth wing. At one point, the youths, including some of Tej's childhood friends, raised their hands, apparently in a gesture of solidarity with him.
Anand Yadav, who said he had been Tej's friend for 12 years, said: "Tej has asked us to take heart, re-group and start visiting villages to seek the people's support. Youths from Maner, Danapur and Bihta had come."
The meeting of the RJD's district units will take place as scheduled on Friday in Patna. Posters for the meet have pictures of Lalu, Rabri and their sons Tej and Tejaswi. Rabri has called an emergency meeting of the RJD leadership on Sunday.