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Monday, Sep 16, 2019

Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In Ara sacrifice, RJD eyes Patliputra gains

In 2014, Misa had lost to Ram Kripal by 41,000 votes while CPI (ML) polled 51,000 votes

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Mar 31, 2019 12:47 IST
Subhash Pathak
Subhash Pathak
Hindustan Times, Patna
Misa Bharti of RJD
Misa Bharti of RJD(PTI)

For the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Patliputra Lok Sabha seat, being contested by Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti, is a prestige issue.

Last time, Lalu’s protege Ram Kripal Yadav, having defected to the BJP just before the Lok Sabha polls, had defeated Misa by around 41,000 votes even as CPI(ML) candidate Rameshwar Prasad polled more than 51,000 votes.

Perhaps wiser after the 2014 results, the RJD has entered into a strategic alliance with CPI (ML) to seek its support for Misa while leaving the Ara seat for the left party.

RJD poll managers believe Misa would be able to wrest the seat for the party with the CPI (ML) on its side this time around. “There is no doubt about RJD’s victory in Patliputra as people of the area are enraged with the BJP-led dispensation,” said RJD spokesman and MLA Shakti Singh Yadav.

Contrary to the general perception that the RJD might require to do a little more to ensure Misa’s victory in the likelihood of JD(U)’s votes getting transferred to the BJP this time, Shakti Singh Yadav claimed that the absence of Ranjan Yadav, who had contested on the JD(U) symbol last time, would benefit the Grand Alliance (GA). Ranjan Yadav had garnered 97,000 votes in the 2014 LS polls.

The CPI(ML), which currently has three members in the state legislature, has had a good understanding with the RJD in the past. While other left parties like CPI and CPI(M) have been put on the margins, CPI(ML) continues to maintain its hold in Ara, Siwan and Katihar districts.

This time, the RJD had left one seat, Ara, for the CPI (ML) out of the 20 it was allotted under the GA. In the last Lok Sabha polls, CPI(ML) candidate from Ara, Raju Yadav, had polled about 99,000 votes against the RJD-Congress combine nominee Sri Bhagwan Singh Kushwaha’s 2.55 lakh. BJP’s RK Singh had won from the seat by getting 3.91 lakh votes.

This time around, the CPI(ML) was willing to enter into an agreement with the GA, but its talks did not materialize because of its insistence on fielding candidates on four seats of Ara, Siwan, Karakat and Jehanabad. “We decided not to field the party’s candidate in Patliputra as the RJD left Ara for us,” CPI (ML) official Parwez said, adding that Raju Yadav would file his papers from Ara and candidates for the rest three seats would be announced later.

The CPI(ML) also has significant presence in Siwan constituency, where its party nominee Amarnath Yadav had polled 81,000 votes, about 2,000 more than the JD(U) nominee Manoj Kumar Singh, in the 2014 LS polls. RJD’s candidate and wife of former don Mohammad Shahabuddin’s wife, Hina Shahib, managed to poll 2.58 lakh votes, but was defeated by BJP’s Om Prakash Yadav, who won by over 1.14 lakh votes.

First Published: Mar 31, 2019 12:47 IST