Lalu Yadav was born in Phulwaria, Bihar on 11 June 1948. . His father’s name is Kundan Rai and mother’s name Marachhiya Devi. He is the 2nd of his parent’s six sons. He attended a local middle school before moving to Patna with his elder brother. He studied Bachelor of Laws and a Master in Political Science from B. N. College, Patna University. After graduation, he got a job as clerk in Bihar Veterinary College, Patna where his elder brother also worked as a peon. Yadav married Rabri Devi on 1 June 1973. They have seven daughters and two sons.
Yadav entered in student politics as General Secretary of the Patna University Students’ Union (PUSU) in 1970 and became its president in 1973. Janata Party formed the first non-Congress government in the history of the Republic of India and at the age of 29, Yadav became one of the youngest members of the Indian Parliament at that time. After the death of ex-Chief Minister Karpuri Thakur, Yadav became the leader of opposition Bihar assembly in 1989. Same year, he was also elected for Lok Sabha under V. P. Singh government. By 1990, Yadav who represented single largest castes of Yadav with 11.7% of the state population, established himself as leader of lower castes. Muslims in Bihar on the other hand had traditionally served as a Congress (I) vote bank, but after the 1989 Bhagalpur violence, they shifted their loyalty to Yadav.
In 1990, Janta party came to power in Bihar. PM V. P. Singh wanted former Chief Minister Ram Sundar Das to lead the government. and Chandra Shekhar backed Raghunath Jha. To break deadlock deputy PM Devi Lal nominated Yadav as CM candidate. Yadav was victorious in an internal poll of Janta Party MLS’s and became the Chief Minister. Yadav became Chief Minister of Bihar in 1990 but resigned in 1997 following escalating corruption charges relating to the Fodder Scam. With the help of Yadav-Muslim votes, Lalu continued to be Bihar CM. In the Fodder Scam, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) issued an arrest warrant for Yadav, and he had to resign from CM’s post. Subsequently he installed his wife Rabri Devi as Bihar CM.
Due to allegation related to Fodder Scam, a leadership revolt surfaced in Janta Party. Yadav broke away from Janta Party and formed a new political party Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in 5 July 1997.
In 2004, Yadav contested general election from Chapra and Madhepura against Rajiv Pratap Rudy and Sharad Yadav respectively and won from both the seats. In total, RJD won 21 seats and it allied with Indian National Congress becoming 2nd largest member of UPA I after Congress. Yadav became the railway minister in the 2004 UPA Government. Later, he gave up the Madhepura seat.
Despite of several ongoing corruption cases against him, he and his wife Rabdi Devi ruled Bihar state for 15 years. He is known as a crowdpuller, shrewd and colourful politician but has been criticized for promoting and encouraging caste-based politics.