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Pataliputra: Three-cornered contest between Misa Bharti, Ram Kripal Yadav and Ranjan Yadav

Misa Bharti is in fray this time, seeking to avenge that defeat but it’s going to be difficult as RJD chief ’s erstwhile political lieutenant Ram Kripal Yadav is out to spoil her party.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Mar 17, 2014, 03.47 AM IST
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Daughter Misa Bharti is in the fray this time, seeking to avenge that defeat but it’s going to be difficult as the RJD chief’s erstwhile political lieutenant Ram Kripal Yadav is out to spoil her party.
Daughter Misa Bharti is in the fray this time, seeking to avenge that defeat but it’s going to be difficult as the RJD chief’s erstwhile political lieutenant Ram Kripal Yadav is out to spoil her party.
PATALIPUTRA: In 2009, Lalu Prasad suffered a humiliating defeat to Ranjan Yadav of the JD(U), his one-time political mentor, getting trounced by a margin of more than 25,000 votes in the prestigious Pataliputra seat.

Daughter Misa Bharti is in the fray this time, seeking to avenge that defeat but it’s going to be difficult as the RJD chief ’s erstwhile political lieutenant Ram Kripal Yadav is out to spoil her party. The battle for the Pataliputra seat will play out as a threecornered contest with rookie Bharti battling two seasoned politicians who once enjoyed her father’s trust and support.

“Ram Kripalji was seen as a Hanuman of Laluji. He was his commander in chief, he knows the constituency like the back of his hand. He was a three-term MP from here. He will really split the Yadav vote and that should make life difficult for Bharti,” said Bhushan Singh of Chithnawa village, part of the Maner assembly segment.

Along with other Bhumihars, Singh had backed the JD(U) nominee in 2009. They will now rally behind Ram Kripal Yadav, the BJP nominee. Pataliputra remains a stronghold of the Yadavs and it’s therefore no big surprise that all three major outfits have fielded candidates from the community.

Though Ranjan Yadav’s candidature has not been declared officially, the JD(U) is certain to renominate him. The Yadavs, estimated at more than 4 lakh, had been seen as rooting for Prasad last time. But he still lost, even with a sizeable chunk of minority votes.

Any split in the Yadav and minority vote bank, which looks very feasible, will jeopardise Bharti’s electoral prospects. Bagha Tola in the Phulwari assembly segment is a Yadav-dominated village that seems to be split over whom to vote for.

The big problem for Bharti is a possible division in the minority vote, which will obviously work to the advantage of Ram Kripal Yadav. Support for the JD(U) nominee was strongly evident in a number of Muslim-dominated villages.

“Anyone Nitishji will field, he will get our unmitigated support. We are really impressed with the good work done by Nitishji. How can we forget those days when we could not step out of our homes after sunset during the Rabri-Lalu regime? You ask anyone here and they will echo my feelings,” said Mohammad Nasim of Zamaluddinchak village in Khagaul.

The chief minister has similar support in other Muslim-dominated villages such as Senari, Mukdumpur and Gurganwa. Apart from the upper caste Bhumihars (around two lakh strong), the BJP nominee is also being backed by Paswans and the Vaishya community. He will also hope to make inroads into the Yadav vote bank besides expecting a vertical division in the minority vote, a scenario which would make his position comfortable.

On the other hand, the JD(U) nominee may bargain for a three-way split in the Yadav vote bank, hoping his presence will encourage people of his community to vote for him.

“Last time, over 15 per cent Yadavs had voted for me. During the last five years I had the opportunity to work for them. Take it from me, my vote share this time will increase to minimum 20 per cent,” Ranjan Yadav told ET, adding that the MBCs, Muslims, Kurmis, Koeris and Mahadalits will back him to the hilt.

Ranjan Yadav’s electoral prospects will depend largely on the extent of divisions in the Yadav vote bank. As for Bharti, she can hope to get counted only if she manages to gain a majority of the Yadav and minority vote share.
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