Sharad Yadav in deal with Lalu to launch son from Bihar’s Madhepura in 2019?
RJD insiders said Lalu had ‘agreed’ to field Sharad’s son Shantanu Bundela, a post graduate from London University, from Bihar, as a quid pro quo for the JD (U) veteran’s ‘rebellion’ against Nitish Kumar.india Updated: Aug 11, 2017 19:24 IST
Janata Dal (United) Rajya Sabha MP Sharad Yadav, at odds with the official leadership of his party, is understood to have struck a deal with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president Lalu Prasad to field his son as the RJD candidate for the Madhepura seat in the next Lok Sabha poll.
Yadav has expressed his disagreement with JD (U) president Nitish Kumar’s decision last month to jettison the 20 month old grand alliance government in Bihar last month and to form a new one with the BJP, with himself has CM.
Much against the wishes of the JD (U)’s official leadership, Yadav has commenced a tour of Bihar on Thursday, dubbed the Jan Samvad Yatra, to “gauge public mood”. He has been sharing stage with RJD leaders and has been openly critical of the JD (U) leadership..
RJD insiders said Lalu had ‘agreed’ to field Sharad’s son Shantanu Bundela, a post graduate from London University, from Bihar as a quid pro quo for the JD (U) veteran’s ‘rebellion’ against Nitish Kumar. “The move suits both the Yadav stalwarts’ common agenda to keep CM Kumar on tenterhooks”, said a party leader.
However, no official confirmation of this move was available immediately.
Sharad’s supporters point out he had already been sidelined in the JD U). As such, getting for his son the Madhepura in north Bihar, which he had represented four times but, as JD (U) candidate, had lost to RJD’s Rajesh Ranjan aka Pappu Yadav, in 2014, sounded like a good deal.
Madhepura, a Yadav stronghold and land of BP Mandal, whose Mandal commission report formed the basis of job reservation for the other backward classes, in the early 1990s, is “available” in the sense that Pappu was expelled from RJD in May 2015 for questioning Lalu’s ‘family-centric’ politics.
The Madhepura seat was won by Sharad four times between 1991 and 2009, whereas Lalu, who broke away from the original Janata Dal, to form the RJD in July 1997, won the seat in 2004. In 2014, RJD’s Pappu Yadav won it, defeating JD (U)’s Sharad.
Despite being represented by political heavyweights, development has largely eluded Madhepura. An electric locomotive factory cleared during Lalu’s tenure as railway minister (2004-09) is still in a limbo. As its MP, Sharad has also faced flak for being away from the constituency and doing little for its development.
Old associates of Sharad are of the view that his ‘move’ to launch his son as RJD candidate was a gambit, considering sitting MP Pappu, who wields influence in Madhepura, had given no indication he was ready to give up the seat.
“Also, it won’t look very good for Sharad to launch his son in politics, considering he has always opposed dynastic politics”, said a Sharad supporter.
But at the veteran socialist leader hit Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar on Friday, his mood remained defiant. He accused party chief Nitish Kumar of intimidating his (Sharad’s) supporters. “They are handing out the threat of expulsion from the JD (U). This is intolerable”, he said.
First Published: Aug 11, 2017 19:24 IST