Lalu campaigns for sons, calls for Yadav unity

This is not an election, this is Mahabharat, says the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief.

September 27, 2015 10:54 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 04:11 pm IST - RAGHOPUR/MAHUA (VAISHALI):

RJD candidate for the Raghopur constituency Tejashwi Prasad Yadav receivesblessings from an elderly woman during his campaign in Vaishali district onSunday. — Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

RJD candidate for the Raghopur constituency Tejashwi Prasad Yadav receivesblessings from an elderly woman during his campaign in Vaishali district onSunday. — Photo: Ranjeet Kumar

Yaduvanshiyon sawdhan ho jao…apna vote batane mat do…sabhi log ekjut ho gaye hain Lalu ko harane ke liye (People of the Yadav caste, be alert… Don’t allow your votes to be divided… Everyone is uniting to defeat Lalu). When Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad made this appeal at a poll rally, Ramsloka Yadav, in his late 50s, suddenly got up and shouted: Yadavon ka neta kaisa ho? Lalu Yadav jaisa ho? (How should a Yadav leader be? Like Lalu Yadav).

Kicking off his campaign from the Terasia diara area of the Raghopur Assembly constituency in Vaishali district on Sunday, Mr. Lalu Prasad called for Yadav unity. It is here in Raghopur that his younger son Tejaswi Yadav is seeking election, taking on Satish Kumar Yadav, a sitting MLA who joined the BJP after the JD(U) denied him renomination.

“This time, the Yadav votes will not be divided as they were in the Lok Sabha polls. We’ll correct the mistake,” Ramsloka Yadav said.

“This is not an election. This is Mahabharat and it’s a battle between the backwards and the forwards,” Mr. Lalu Prasad thundered. “It was I who got BJP leader L.K. Advani arrested and it was on my demand that [Chief Minister] Nitish Kumar acted against Anant Singh for allegedly killing a Yadav youth at Barh,” Mr. Lalu Prasad said, as the crowd, mostly Yadavs, cheered.

Raghopur has 44 panchayats and the Yadavs account for 75 per cent of their population.

Mr. Lalu Prasad has represented the constituency twice and his wife Rabri Devi thrice. In the 2010 polls, Ms. Rabri Devi lost to Mr. Satish Kumar by 20,000 votes.

Mr. Tejaswi Yadav criticised the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi over several issues and vowed to stay in touch with the youth. “We’ll create jobs for the youths, and I’ll be in contact with them,” he said.

In neighbouring Mahua, the caste factor is working in favour of Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder son of Mr. Lalu Prasad.

The Yadav-dominated constituency has 36 panchayats. It has 8,000 Kurmi voters loyal to Mr. Nitish Kumar.

The sitting MLA, Ravindra Rai, is taking on Mr. Tej Pratap. Mr. Rai belongs to the Jitan Ram Manjhi-led Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular). But he is considered a “weak candidate.” Mr Rai, earlier a close aide of Lalu Prasad, was in the RJD for 25 years. He was denied ticket at the eleventh hour. “I paid the price for Mr. Lalu Yadav’s putra-moh [love for his son],” he told The Hindu at his village residence in Godigama. Mr. Rai is preparing “methodically” to give Mr. Lalu Prasad’s son a tough fight.

Mohammad Irshad, Mohd. Sarver and Mohd. Laddann of Hashanpur Oshti, the largest Muslim-dominated village of the constituency, said: “80 per cent of our community will vote for Mr. Lalu Prasad’s son. We’ll vote for him also because of Mr. Nitish Kumar.”

In the neighbouring Parsaunia Gudari, Chak Madahid and Mirzanagar villages, however, people are not going to vote for Mr. Tej Pratap, but for Mr. Lalu Prasad.

“In this battle of Mahabharata, a lot will depend on Mr. Lalu Prasad’s ability to retain his caste votes. Even a little dent could prove fatal to him and his family,” said Ram Lakhan Singh of Mahua Bazaar.

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