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Tuesday, Aug 20, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Lalu’s absence from Saran takes away steam from RJD’S campaigning

Dilip Kumar, a resident of Sheetalpur, maintained the contest would depend on how much RJD is able to keep its Yadav vote bank intact.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 03, 2019 14:51 IST
Anirban Guha Roy
Anirban Guha Roy
Hindustan Times, PATNA
Mritunjay Tiwary, state spokeperson of RJD, said Rabri was not well and she had not campaigned in other parts of the state. “But she will go to Saran soon,” he said.
Mritunjay Tiwary, state spokeperson of RJD, said Rabri was not well and she had not campaigned in other parts of the state. “But she will go to Saran soon,” he said.(HT Photo)
         

Incarcerated RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav’s absence from campaigns in the Lok Sabha polls may have taken colour off from the ongoing electioneering, but its impact is starkly visible in the Saran parliamentary constituency, which has been represented by the RJD supremo four times since 1977.

The campaign in Saran for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections has remained lacklustre so far, with only Tejashwi Prasad Yadav canvassing for RJD nominee Chandrika Rai, who is pitted against sitting BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy. Polling will be held in this seat on May 6, during the fifth phase.

The reason for RJD’S ‘averseness’ to campaign in Saran, especially by Rabri Devi and Tej Pratap Yadav , has raised many eyebrows, with observers describing it as a ‘side effect’ of the ongoing feud in the family and Tej Pratap’s open opposition against Chandrika Rai.

Tej Pratap, till recently, had kept the party on tenderhooks by threatening to contest against his father-in-law or field a nominee from his newly launched Lalu Rabri Morcha, as he did in Sheohar and Jehanabad. But, insiders said, the Mahua MLA was ‘admonished’ by his parents recently and asked to stay away from Saran so that Rai’s polls prospects do not get affected by any unnecessary controversy.

“RJD’S low decibel campaign in Saran has a lot has to do with Tej Pratap’s divorce episode and the ongoing power tussle in RJD between Tej Pratap and Tejashwi. But Rabri Devi’s bid to stay away from Saran is confounding. It is possible she is keeping her distance because of Tej Pratap’s recent outburst and does not want to face any odd situation in the constituency during campaigning,” said Rajan Kumar Singh, a school teacher in Chapra.

Singh said the absence of RJD’S star campaigners has dampened the election buzz in Saran to some extent, though the contest remains tough for both BJP and RJD. While the RJD is banking on Yadav-muslim voters along with Dalits, the BJP-JD(U) combine is hoping to garner votes of the upper caste Rajputs, who form a sizeable chunk among voters, followed by EBCS.

Poll observers say, it is going to be a straight fight this time between the two blocs, unlike in 2014 when there was a triangular contest between RJD’S Rabri Devi, BJP’S Rudy and JD(U)’S Saleem Parvej. Parvej managed to get around 1 lakh votes, taking away a sizeable chunk of the Muslim-yadav votes, a probable reason for Rabri Devi’s loss by a margin of 40,948 votes.

Dilip Kumar, a resident of Sheetalpur, maintained the contest would depend on how much RJD is able to keep its Yadav vote bank intact. He insisted that Chandrika Rai’s own political prowess was under test this time as Lalu was not by his side to rally the voters. “No matter whether people voted for RJD or not, but whenever Lalu used to hold a meeting, people used to flock at the ground and wait for hours to listen to his speeches laced with wit and humour. This time, election in this high profile seat is really dull,” said Rakesh Kumar, a businessman and resident of Chapra.

Mritunjay Tiwary, state spokeperson of RJD, said Rabri was not well and she had not campaigned in other parts of the state. “But she will go to Saran soon,” he said.

On the other hand, the BJPJD(U) combine have thrown in their weight to canvass support for Rudy. While chief minister Nitish Kumar and his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi, along with senior NDA leaders have held several meetings in last few days, BJP president Amit Shah held a rally in Parsa recently. In comparison, Tejashwi has held five rallies and few road shows.

First Published: May 03, 2019 14:51 IST

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