3 bigwigs to slug it out in Madhepura

Analysts are of the opinion that three strong candidates belonging to the same fold (Yadav) may confuse voters this time.

Patna: Madhepura which has been RJD’s traditional seat is poised to witness a triangular fight as three political heavyweights — veteran Socialist leader Sharad Yadav, senior JD(U) leader Dinesh Chandra Yadav and Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, are locked in a tough do-or-die battle.

The four-term MP from the seat, Sharad Yadav, has been nominated by the RJD this time. Analysts claim that after Nitish Kumar joined the BJP-led NDA in July 2017, Sharad Yadav sided with the RJD- Congress-led grand alliance in Bihar.

In 2014, Sharad Yadav was defeated by RJD nominee Pappu Yadav.

Pappu Yadav later floated the Jan Adhikar Party after he was expelled from the RJD for engaging in anti-party activities. However, in 2019, he tried to mend fences with the RJD, but couldn’t get into the grand alliance due to differences with Tejashwi Yadav, who is now a de facto leader of the party in the absence of his father Lalu Yadav.

In March after RJD turn-ed down his offer, Pappu Yadav created a flutter in the grand alliance by filing a nomination from Madhepura as an Independent candidate.

Analysts are of the opinion that three strong candidates belonging to the same fold (Yadav) may confuse voters this time. The Yadavs have maximum representation in Madhepura with about 37 per cent of the local population.

“I wanted to get into the grand alliance, but some people placed their ego above everything. I have now turned to my own people and I know that they will bless me again,” Rajesh Ranjan, alias Pappu Yadav, said.

Similarly, the Saran seat has become a prestigious battle for Lalu Yadav and his party.

Lalu Yadav who is now serving a sentence in connection with the fodder scam has been four-term MP from this seat. In the absence of RJD chief Lalu Yadav, the party has fielded Chandrika Rai, estranged father-in-law of his elder son Tej Pratap.

He is facing a tough contest from BJP’s Rajiv Pratap Rudy who had defeated former Bihar chief minister and Lalu Yadav’s wife Rabri Devi in 2014. The constituency has a sizeable number of Yadav and Rajput voters.

Misa Bharti, the eldest daughter of RJD chief Lalu Yadav, is contesting against BJP nominee Ram Kripal Yadav from Patliputra constituency. Ram Kripal Yadav was earlier a member of the RJD. As the RJD gave the ticket to Misa Bharti from Patliputra in 2014, he joined the BJP and defeated her by a margin of 40,000 votes.

According to observers here, Ram Kripal Yadav has a massive following among the local people in Patliputra constituency.

Former Vaishali MP Lovely Anand is also upset after she was denied a ticket this time. She had joined the Congress on the assurance of getting a ticket from Sheohar constituency. Sources said she is also planning to contest as an independent candidate after the seat went to the RJD.

Political analysts are of the opinion that a sizeable number of upper caste Rajput voters may side with her if she contests as an independent candidate from the constituency. The RJD has fielded Syed Faisal Ali from the Sheohar seat.

The grand alliance is also facing a tough battle in Madhubani where two veterans – Congress leader Dr Shakeel Ahmed and RJD leader Mohammad Ashraf Ali Fatmi -- have decided to contest as independent against Vikasheel Insan Party’s (VIP) nominee.

Both the leaders have been upset after the seat went to Mukesh Sahani’s VIP under the seat-sharing formula of the grand alliance.

Both Shakeel Ahmed and MA Fatmi are considered strong minority faces in the region. Mr Ahmed had won Lok Sabha elections from the seat in 1998 and 2004, but was defeated by BJP nominee Hukumadeo Narayan Yadav in 2009 and 2014.

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