Lalu's calculations keep Rabri safe, not secured

Lalu's calculations keep Rabri safe, not secured

But Lalu, who knows the pulse of the people far better than many of the veteran political pundits, was not sure whether Rabri will scrape through from her traditional seat – Raghopur in Vaishali.

So he opted for Sonepur – one of the safest seats for his better-half – who is also the Leader of the Opposition in the outgoing Assembly.

Voters in general are happy over media attention this VVIP constituency (ever since Rabri filed her papers) is getting, and insist that since Sonepur falls under Saran Lok Sabha constituency, represented by Lalu, it should not be very difficult for Rabri to pip her BJP rival Vinay Singh.

Vinay, an ex-legislator, was almost sure of his victory till last month, when one fine morning Lalu sprung a surprise and made Rabri a formidable rival. But Vinay is counting on the good work done by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar. “Here development and law and order are major issues. Earlier, I used to pull down my shutters by 7:30 pm. But these days, my shop remains open till 9:30 pm. No extortion demand. No threatening. Things have changed for better bhai,” said a grocery shop owner Mani Lal Shaw.

Agreeing with him is Shyam Chaurasia, a betel shop owner. “Much development has taken place. Had Rabri not been in the fray from here, Vinay Singh would have won hands down. But now, it’s a tough contest.”

Lalji Rai, however, tells Deccan Herald why it won’t be a cakewalk for Rabri, even though Sonepur is close to her ancestral house, and has been a safe seat ever since Lalu became a Lok Sabha member from Chapra (now called Saran) in 1977.

“Lalu has created more enemies than friends. He gave railway jobs to nearly 200 people from Chapra, but another 400 people who failed to secure a job are now seething with rage. And those who are disgruntled, belong mostly to his own Yadav community. So he should not take his castemen for granted,” Lalji Rai sounded a note of caution for Lalu and Rabri.