Patliputra: Misa in 3rd bid for seat where ex-loyalists always beat Lalu, kin - Hindustan Times

Patliputra: Misa in 3rd bid for seat where ex-loyalists always beat Lalu, kin

By, Danapur
May 29, 2024 09:31 PM IST

In 2009, Lalu was defeated by former friend Ranjan Yadav; in 2014 and 2019, Misa lost to Ramkripal Yadav, a former loyalist of her father.

Caste, family prestige and old political rivalry is what the battle is all about in Patliputra parliamentary constituency, where RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter and Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti, 47, is making a third attempt to win the seat after two successive defeats at the hands of BJP‘s Ram Kripal Yadav, 66, a former loyalist of her father seeking a third straight term.

Misa Bharti campaigns at Danapur on Wednesday. (HT PHOTO)
Misa Bharti campaigns at Danapur on Wednesday. (HT PHOTO)

Despite the high-pitched campaign from both sides on development, jobs and different takes on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are indications that caste would be the overriding factor in the constituency where Yadavs, along with other OBCs , upper caste Bhumihars, Brahmins and Muslims, form a sizeable vote bank.

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“There is support for both sides. it will be a close fight,” says Collector Rai, a resident of Maner, who does not have much to complain against the sitting MP, but claimed there is a wind of change blowing in the constituency.

In 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Ram Kripal had defeated Misa Bharti by around 39,000 votes.

To be sure, young voters are vocal about lack of jobs and migration. In some assembly segments, farm related woes are also a factor.

“I work at a dairy unit in Pune. I have no job here, so I had to go outside the state. There should be more factories and job opportunities so that youth like us do not have to migrate,” says Sanjit, 20, at Maner, who has been home for a few months and would vote for the first time.

Satyam from Naubatpur in Bikram assembly segment hope to join the Army as an Agniveer. “ Otherwise, where is any work here?” he says. Like Sanjit, Satyam is also a first-time voter in the constituency, where the total number of voters is 20.80 lakh.

At Alipore village in Paliganj assembly segment, about 35 km from Patna, Vijendra Yadav, a marginal farmer, rues how the Sone canal does not get much water during sowing season for rice or wheat for irrigation while farm produce returns are very low.

Law and order is an issue too. “We still remember those days when people used to fear venturing out even during the day and incidents of loot and murder were common. Now, it is peaceful. That is a big thing,” says Mohammed Azad of Paliganj, which was once infamous for naxalite activity.

The Patliputra parliamentary constituency, which has witnessed urbanisation as part of Greater Patna with an IIT (at Bihta) and an AIIMSup, was carved out of Patna Sahib seat after delimitation in 2008.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad unsuccessfully fought for the seat in 2009, losing to friend-turned-foe Ranjan Yadav, who was then in JD(U). Recently, Ranjan joined the RJD, which could to consolidate Yadavs in favour of RJD.

In 2014, Ram Kripal contested the LS polls from the seat on a BJP ticket after leaving RJD and defeated Misa Bharti.

“I am working for development . I am son of a poor family and I have not earned millions. The so-called social equations of INDIA bloc have all failed,” Yadav recently told reporters.

In her campaign, Misa has accused Yadav of ignoring development in the constituency for the last 10 years and not allowing any other Yadav leader to progress.

“There are area-specific issues in each of the assembly segments and we have a plan for each area, if elected as MP. We will work on roads, water supply, drainage and also on drawing investment. In last 10 years, the constituency has not witnessed any kind of development. One can see how roads have become dilapidated and people are complaining about poor water supply,” she says.

AIMIM has fielded one Mohammed Farooq Raja.

“We are not trying to eat into anybody’s vote bank. Has RJD been winning Patliputra seat since it was carved out in 2008. Muslims are not anybody’s captive vote bank,” said Abdul Hassan, spokesperson of AIMIM.

On Monday last, AIMIM chief Asaddudin Owaisi held a rally at Paliganj, hours before Congress leader Rahul Gandhi canvassed for Misa in the same assembly segment.

Patliputra votes on June 1.

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