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Revenge key word for Laloo

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Madhepura
May 03, 2004 03:14 PM IST

Laloo Yadav seeks to avenge his humiliating defeat at the hands of his bete noire JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav in Madhepura.

For Rashtriya Janata Dal President Laloo Prasad Yadav, revenge is the battle cry as he seeks to avenge his humiliating defeat at the hands of his bete noire JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav in this Yadav dominated constituency.

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The two proponents of social justice -- Laloo Prasad Yadav and JD(U) parliamentary board chairman Sharad Yadav -- are locked in a fierce battle of ballots in the home turf of late B P Mandal, the author of the Mandal Commission report which sharply divided Bihar on caste lines.

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Ten other candidates including former CBI joint director, N K singh are also trying their luck from the seat.

"Rome hai Pope ka, aur Madhepura hai Gope ka (as Rome is for the Pope, Madhepura is for the Gope)," chant voters as the titanic clash awaits this constituency on May 5.

Both Yadav leaders are banking on around 1.75 lakh Dalit voters in the seat of about 11 lakh electorate who could tilt the balance in favour of either.

It remains to be seen if the RJD supremo's decision to join hands with Lok Janshakti Party President and high profile Dalit leader Ramvilas Paswan will work to his advantage.

Whether Paswan will be able to transfer Dalit votes in RJD's favour is a million dollar question and will become evident on May 13 when counting takes place.

A drive through the constituency and talks with a cross section of people suggest that the contest between the two yadavas is evenly poised with both trying to woo Dalits, upper castes and Muslims to make inroads into rival citadels.

The educated among the Yadavs appear to be unhappy with the RJD president for deciding to contest from this constituency besides Chapra.

"Instead of taking on Sharad Yadav once again, Laloo Yadav should have stuck to his old Chapra seat which returned him twice in the past," said Deonandan Yadav of Kumarkhand.

The anger among these educated Yadavs has made the Laloo camp jittery as they try to convince the electorate about the reason for contesting the Madhepura seat.

"Sharad ne Lalooji ko dhokha diya aur apne swarth ke liye bhajpayeeon se mil gaye isleye unhe sabak sikhana jaroori hai (Sharad backstabbed Lalooji and joined hands with communal BJP for his vested political interest and should be taught a lesson)," says Devendra Yadav of Udakishunganj.

The bearded JD(U) chief on his part accuses his friend-turned-foe of plundering the state in the name of social justice and establishing a jungle raj during the past 14 years of 'misgovernance'.

He asks the people to vote for Atal Bihari Vajpayee if they were interested in the development of the nation in general and Madhepura in particular.

Predicting the victory of Sharad Yadav, his media in-charge Arun Kumar Yadav, who was the private secretary to B P Mandal, told a visiting PTI correspondent that people here would not vote on caste lines, but for development.

"Sharadji has become synonymous with development in the constituency and has done a lot as a union minister to change the face of the otherwise backward region," he says.

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!

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