Misa Bharti’s convoy heads home as campaigning ends at 5pm on Tuesday. Villagers stop her on the way with a litany of complaints and requests. At Khaira, she tells them: “Vote for lantern and see the difference.”
Lantern is the symbol of RJD that Misa’s father Lalu Prasad heads. She is contesting her maiden election from the Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency.
But she is no babe in the woods. “I have seen elections from childhood, there is recognition and media attention – these are advantages of being from a political family,” she says.
She rejects accusations that dynasties have taken over the polity. “I am 38, and could have taken the Rajya Sabha route any time. But I wanted to fight it out,” she says.
Didn’t her BJP rival Ram Kripal Yadav, who she calls ‘chacha’, deserve the ticket more before leaving RJD? “He would have if he had no post. He was our party’s Rajya Sabha MP with almost three years remaining.”
Misa lived in Bangalore and Delhi with her IIM-trained husband before they shifted to Patna. She had plans to make Pataliputra an IT and education hub, but providing basic facilities is her priority now.
Her father had once dismissed computers but she defends him. “He was born at a different time and empowered the backwards. By the time he could focus on development, he had these false cases against him. But when he went to the centre, he excelled as railways minister,” she says.
Misa says her main competitor is BJP as the JD(U)’s Ranjan Yadav ‘vanished’ after bagging the Pataliputra seat last time. The RJD feels Ram Kripal could take away a slice of its Yadav base, so it is banking on Muslims to see her through.