Ailing Lalu taken to Delhi by air ambulance

RJD president Lalu Prasad on Wednesday was taken to Delhi in an air ambulance, a couple of days after falling critically ill.

The 74-year-old former Bihar chief minister was accompanied by a team of doctors and his eldest daughter Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP who is also an MBBS. His wife Rabri Devi and younger son Tejashwi Yadav had left a few hours earlier to oversee the arrangements in the national capital.

Prasad left for Delhi at around 8.15 PM, nearly 45 minutes behind schedule. The delay was attributed to the air ambulance not reaching here in time.

Crowds were seen at the Paras hospital, where Prasad had been admitted since Monday morning, besides both sides of the road that led to the airport which was a 15-minute drive.

At the Jai Prakash Narayan Airport, slogans in praise of the messiah of the poor rent the air as the ambulance carrying Prasad sped past the crowds, waiting for their leader despite a drizzle.

Prasad, who turned 74 last month, has been suffering from multiple ailments including renal and cardiac problems besides diabetes. On Sunday last, he had a fall and fractured his shoulder after which the affected area was bandaged.

However, the pain worsened and he was rushed to the hospital hours later. He had been in the ICU and on oxygen support.

Visitors in the past couple of days included Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, his political arch-rival, and Chirag Paswan whose late father Ram Vilas Paswan had been an old associate.

Tejashwi Yadav, who is the RJD’s heir apparent, expressed his gratitude while speaking to reporters earlier in the day to leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress bigwigs Sonia Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra who had telephoned him to enquire about his father’s health.

Yadav said that his father’s condition had shown improvement here, but the decision to take him to Delhi was taken in view of the fact that he had been under treatment of doctors at AIIMS who knew his medical history better.

He also said that the family would like to go ahead with its plan to take Prasad abroad, to Singapore for a kidney transplant, if the doctors permitted the same in view of the shoulder fracture.

Yadav also urged supporters, in a statement he gave before leaving for Delhi, to hope for the best and not let their enthusiasm sag.

Meanwhile, prayer congregations are being held at various temples across the city by supporters of Prasad for the well-being of their leader who is often credited with having given a voice to the underdogs of the state, allegations of corruption and rampant misrule notwithstanding.