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Modi, Lalu’s brother-in-law meet in good cheer

The brother-in-law of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav quit the RJD to join the Congress in 2009. Political analysts say that the parleys indicate a BJP move to weaken Lalu Prasad’s turf in north western Bihar.

patna Updated: Aug 16, 2013 22:39 IST
Ashok Mishra & Rai Atul Krishna
Ashok Mishra & Rai Atul Krishna
Hindustan Times

Senior Bihar Congress leader Anirudh Prasad Yadav alias Sadhu Yadav--the brother-in-law of RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav--met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Friday, sparking off speculation that he was reaching out to the BJP.

Sadhu, who had quit the Rashtriya Janata Dal to join the Congress in 2009, was accompanied by another Congress leader Dasai Choudhary during the meeting with the BJP’s possible prime ministerial candidate . However, it was not immediately clear what transpired in the meeting, which lasted for nearly 45 minutes.

Sadhu himself downplayed the meeting--which lasted for nearly 45 minutes--stating that it was "purely a courtesy visit and no political meaning should be derived out of it". A PTI report quoted Yadav as saying that during the meeting Modi "inquired about old politicians of Bihar and the prevailing political situation in the state".

Political pundits said that the parleys indicated a BJP move to weaken Lalu Prasad’s turf in north western Bihar, especially Gopalganj-Siwan belt and Champaran.

Sources said that Sadhu wants to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Valmikinagar Lok Sabha constituency with the support of the BJP.
"But it is not yet clear what will be the outcome of the meeting," a close confidante of Sadhu said.

Sadhu had quit the RJD after party had given ticket to noted film-maker Prakash Jha from West Champaran Lok Sabha seat. He then switched over to Congress and unsuccessfully contested from West Champaran seat. Ever since he quit the RJD, Sadhu is not on talking terms with his brother-in-law and had been hobnobbing with the state BJP leaders. With an eye on the four Lok Sabha seats in western Bihar (Champaran region), the BJP leadership could be forced to rope in the support of Sadhu to counter both Nitish Kumar-led JD (U) and Lalu Prasad’s RJD.

Sadhu was recently granted bail by a district court after he surrendered in a case related to violation of election code during the 2009 general elections. The case was lodged against Sadhu on the basis of a complaint of the district administration.

Meanwhile, Parshottam Rupala, a BJP Rajya Sabha MP from Gujarat and a close confidant of Narendra Modi, claimed that a number of JD (U) Lok Sabha MPs from Bihar "were keen to do business with Modi” and were in touch with his camp followers. “The process has just begun and nothing has been decided as yet," he said.

The JD-U has 20 MPs while the BJP has 12, RJD four and Congress two.

Rupala is the man whom two sitting JD (U) Lok Sabha MPs--Purnmasi Ram (Gopalganj) and Jainarain Nishad (Muzaffarpur)--had met at his New Delhi residence, Tuesday.

Purnmasi Ram had earlier told HT that he was determined to contest the coming Lok Sabha poll from two constituencies - Gopalganj, which he represents at present and from Valmikinagar in West Champaran, north Bihar.

Of the four seats in Champaran, the JD (U) had won only Valmikinagar seat, while the BJP retained all the three seats – West Champaran, East Champaran and Sheohar- in 2009 Lok Sabha polls. The old Champaran region has been the bastion of the saffron party and 19 out of 22 assembly seats were won by the BJP-JD (U) combine in the 2010 assembly elections. While the BJP won from 10 seats, the JD (U) had garnered nine seats while three seats were won by Independents.

First Published: Aug 16, 2013 15:46 IST