Mumbai: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad is undergoing two major heart surgeries, one to replace an aortic valve and the other to repair the aorta, at a hospital in Mumbai on Wednesday.
"The surgery began this morning," a spokesperson for the Asian Heart Institute, located in suburban Bandra Kurla complex, said. The former Bihar Chief Minister has been diagnosed with 'aortic stenosis'.
Asian Heart Institute Medical Director Vijay D'Silva had said yesterday that the surgical procedure will take over five hours.
Lalu, as the 67-year-old leader is known, was hospitalised on Monday, the day by-election results were counted in Bihar and three other states. Lalu's alliance with Janata Dal (United)'s Nitish Kumar in Bihar won six of the 10 seats in the state's by-election. The result was a setback for the BJP, which swept the national election in Bihar, like most other parts of the country, winning 31 of the state's 40 parliamentary seats.
Kumar, according to sources, may visit Lalu in hospital today. The results of this week's by-elections in Bihar are likely to forge a deeper bond between Kumar and Lalu. The state votes next year for its new government, and a united front of the two leaders could ensure they accrue the Muslim and backward castes vote, key to staving off the BJP.
Kumar resigned as Chief Minister of Bihar after his party, the Janata Dal United, polled just two parliamentary seats. He installed another leader from his party to head the government, and teamed up with Lalu, who was once a bitter opponent.
Lalu was Chief Minister till 1997 when he was forced to step aside over corruption charges; he then made his wife Rabri Devi the head of the state government. It was Kumar who ousted them from power in 2005.