Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Pappu Yadav, wife Ranjeet Ranjan face tough political battle
Two Lok Sabha seats- Madhepura and Supaul- won by north Bihar’s ‘power couple’ Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and Ranjeet Ranjan in 2014, seem to be heading towards their toughest ever electoral battle. Unlike the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, when the couple had a smooth sailing despite a strong Narendra Modi wave, they are locked in a fierce electoral battle this time as the political scenario has completely changed in five years, with foes turning friends and vice-versa.
Pappu Yadav had won the 2014 poll from Madhepura on an RJD ticket, but was removed from party a year later for his alleged anti-party activities. He went on to form the Jan Adhikar Party, Loktantrik. His wife, Ranjit Ranjan won neighbouring Supaul on a Congress ticket.
Despite his best efforts to broker peace with his former party and become a Grand Alliance (GA) candidate from Madhepura, Pappu ended up facing rejection this time. Instead, Sharad Yadav got the RJD ticket to contest from Madhepura. A dejected Pappu Yadav has decided to contest on his own to retain his seat. His wife, though has managed to get Congress ticket to reclaim Supaul. GA partners, especially, RJD leaders in Supaul are unhappy and they have decided not to support her in any manner.
“We are not going to be dictated by top leaders. We want to dictate to them instead and if they won’t pay heed to our demand we are ready to offer collective resignation from the party,” said Yaduvanshu Kumar Yadav, RJD MLA from Supaul who is also the district RJD president. He has threatened not to support the Congress nominee and instead wants to contest the seat.
“How long will we continue to help the Congress nominee and extend endless support to Congress at our own cost,” argued another senior RJD leader Mahendra Sardar
Ranjeet Ranjan’s political journey
Ranjeet Ranjan, who married Pappu Yadav in 1994, contested assembly polls in 1995 from Supaul but lost. In 2004 she contested Saharsa LS seat on Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJNSP) ticket and won. Later delimitation changed geography of Saharsa parliamentary constituency and Supaul LS constituency came into existence in 2009.
In 2009 she wrested Supaul LS seat on Congress ticket but lost to JD-U. But in 2014 she won Supaul seat despite Modi wave keeping Congress’ hope alive in Seemanchal and Kosi.
Supaul district Congress president Bimal Kumar Yadav said, “RJD has never supported Congress party here and we are confident of repeating the 2014 performance.”
Ranjeet Ranjan said, “RJD supporters and workers are with me” but accused some leaders of plotting conspiracy to sabotage her poll prospects.
Pappu Yadav is harping on RJD’s own ‘ NRM’ - Non- Resident Madhepurian poll slogan the party had coined against Sharad Yadav during the 2014 polls that led to victory. “Ours is the same issue as we had in 2014,” he said, adding “Sharad ji is an outsider and I am the son of the soil.”
Taking a jibe on RJD nominee, he said, “Sharad Yadav ji has been so vocal against the RJD supremo and the same person is the party nominee now,” he said.
Once close to Lalu Prasad and his family, Pappu was expelled from the party in 2015 on the charge of anti-party activities and he floated a new party Jan Adhikar Party (JAP) but his party failed to make any impact in 2015 assembly elections and could not win any seat out of 40 seats he contested.
Later, the verbal duel between Pappu Yadav and Tejaswi Yadav aggravated in public forum prompting Tejaswi to announce that he would not tolerate him at any cost. On Tuesday while addressing an election meeting at Banmankhi adjacent to Madhepura, Tejaswi called him ‘dramabaz’ and cautioned the people against his dirty game.
“The couple Ranjeet- Pappu is power hungry and they will leave no stone unturned to retain their seats,” Vijay Yadav, a self claimed GA leader in Purnia said, adding, “The road isn’t going to be smooth this time for the couple given the RJD’s vehement protest.
Pappu Yadav’s political journey
Pappu Yadav a five- time MP from Madhepura and Purnia had started his political journey in 1990 when he won Singheshwar assembly seat in Madhepura as an independent candidate. Later he won Purnia LS seat in 1991, 1996 and 1999. He won Madhepura seat in 2004 and 2014 on RJD ticket.
In 1998 CPI (M) firebrand leader and Purnia MLA Ajit Sarkar was murdered in which Yadav was made an accused. In 2009 he was debarred from contesting the polls and he remained in jail till 2013 when Patna high court had acquitted him of the case.
Madhepura LS constituency has about 4 lakh Yadav voters and the constituency has never chosen non-yadav candidate here.
Besides it has about 2 lakh Muslim voters, about 1 lakh kushwaha voters and about 4 lakh others including OBCs and upper caste voters. The constituency has about 16 % SC/ST voters.
Supaul LS constituency has about 16 % SC/ST voters and 16 % Muslims and it has about 40% OBC/EBC voters and others 25 to 35%.
The seat has substantial number of upper caste voters as well.