Tejashwi triggers storm with INDIA or NDA call in Purnea, raises stakes for Pappu - Hindustan Times
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Tejashwi triggers storm with INDIA or NDA call in Purnea, raises stakes for Pappu

ByAditya Nath Jha, Purnea
Apr 23, 2024 09:15 PM IST

RJD’s Bima Bharti is pitted against sitting JD-U MP and nominee Santosh Kumar Kushwaha and Pappu Yadav, who is fighting as Independent in the triangular contest in Purnea.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has been camping in Purnea to campaign for party candidate Bima Bharti in the ongoing parliamentary elections, has kicked up a storm with his appeal to voters to either vote for the INDIA bloc or for the NDA in an apparent bid to scuttle the prospects of Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, a five-time former MP who is in the fray from the constituency as an Independent.

RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at an election rally in in Bhagalpur in support of Congress candidate Ajit Kumar. (HT photo)
RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at an election rally in in Bhagalpur in support of Congress candidate Ajit Kumar. (HT photo)

The former Bihar deputy chief minister, while addressing an election meeting at Korha in Purnea on Monday, said, “This election is a fight between two ideologies – INDIA bloc and NDA. I am here to appeal you to cast your vote in favour of INDIA bloc, and if you don’t want to vote us, then vote for NDA.”

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While the impact of his appeal will be decided on April 26, when the constituency goes to vote in the second of the seven-phase parliamentary polls, Pappu Yadav lost no time in responding. “It is clear people are not going to support RJD here. This appeal will further consolidate my position here,” said the former MP, who has won the seat thrice in the past.

The BJP, which leads the NDA, was predictably quick to declare that the RJD leader’s statement was an “acceptance of defeat”.

Deputy chief minister and BJP leader Samrat Choudhary said, “This is a statement of frustration made by someone who has accepted defeat. BJP knows there is no contest. NDA is winning all 40 seats in the state.”

Tejashwi’s appeal has also put traditional supporters of his father and RJD supremo Lalu Prasad in a fix. “We are all committed to our leader Lalu Prasad, but in Purnea, we have been supporting Pappu Yadav. Tejashwi Yadav’s statement has put us in a fix,” said a panchayat-level RJD leader, who did not wish to be named.

Purnea is facing a a triangular contest.

The NDA has fielded sitting JD-U MP Santosh Kumar Kushwaha, who is seeking a third consecutive term in the Lok Sabha from the constituency.

RJD nominee Bima Bharti, a five-time MLA, is a recent import from the JD-U.

Pappu Yadav, who has previously been in the RJD, merged his Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) with Congress last month in the hope of getting a party ticket from Purnea, which, however, was allotted to RJD as part of seat sharing deal in the Bihar’s Opposition alliance also comprising Congress and Left parties.

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