Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is apparently proving to be too heavy a weight for JD(U) president Sharad Yadav to carry in Madhepura. This has made the latter’s fight in the constituency tough against RJD strongman Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and BJP nominee Vijay Singh Kushwaha.
Sharad Yadav is finding it hard to garner the support of the Yadavs inclined towards Lalu Prasad’s RJD. The backward communities, on the other hand, are said to be rallying behind Kushwaha.
The chief minister is seen as the common cause of anger in the constituency. “Nitish Kumar was instrumental in sending Lalu Prasad to jail. So there is no reason why Yadavs should vote for the JD(U) candidate who is an outsider,” said Ajay, an RJD worker.
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The BJP too is projecting Kumar as a traitor for ending years of alliance.
Sharad Yadav has been attacking BJP for using corporate money to prop up its PM candidate Narendra Modi. He has also been blaming RJD for terrorising voters to erode the JD(U)’s base among Yadavs, extremely backward castes and mahadalits.
Simultaneously, he has been wooing the upper castes, especially the Rajputs who dislike the dominance of Yadavs. He went out of the way to meet the mother of incarcerated Rajput leader Anand Mohan Singh at Panchgachhia in Saharsa district recently.
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But the move did not go down well with the Yadavs. “There is no harm in visiting people to seek votes. But the way Sharad Yadav presented himself in front of Anand Mohan’s mother was disgusting and an affront on Yadav pride. Pagadi uchhali delak (He has lowered our prestige),” said Bahiroo Yadav of Bakhri village.
The JD(U) president’s vocal criticism of Pappu Yadav describing him as a “leader with a shady past” has also raised hackles among the young Yadavs, especially RJD supporters. “Why then did his party nominate persons like Anant Singh and Neeraj Babloo who score more on the terror scale?” an RJD worker asked.
Pappu Yadav advised Sharad Yadav to seek votes against Anand Mohan’s wife Lovely Anand, contesting against JD(U) in Sheohar, instead of appeasing the Rajput leader’s family.