Lalu Yadav is fighting a battle for political survival, with his back to the wall. He has been in similar situations before. Several times in the past, his political career seemed to ebb, but he always managed to bounce back. First, mid way through his second term as Chief Minister of Bihar in 1997, when he was arrested by CBI in Fodder scam, people wrote him off. But he sprung a surprise by anointing his illiterate wife as Chief Minister and still managed to rule by proxy for another 8 years. Even after 15 years in power, when he lost the assembly elections in 2005, the opposition could not muster enough numbers to form a government, forcing the imposition of President’s rule. By then he was already installed in the Centre as Railways Minister in UPA – I government headed by Manmohan Singh. Towards the end of the year, in a repeat election, when he decisively lost and along with Rabri Devi had to vacate 1 Anne Marg, the official residence of Chief Minister, it again looked like curtains for him. Yet he managed to rise again and create a larger than life image as Railways Minster. He seemingly turned around the near bankrupt Railways and became the cynosure of IIM students and corporate honchos alike, teaching them management lessons. It however ended with his party badly losing the 2009 Parliamentary Elections and Congress dumping him from the cabinet. The Bihar Assembly Elections 2010 present him with an opportunity to redeem lost glory. However this time around, the political context seems to have changed dramatically. Five years of Nitish’s administration have modified the rules of the game. Lalu is hoping that like the nine offsprings that he has, he might just have nine lives in politics too.