Sharad Yadav faces uphill task in Madhepura

Sharad Yadav faces uphill task in Madhepura

Much before the parliamentary election was announced, the JD (U) president and sitting MP from Madhepura, Sharad Yadav, reportedly expressed his desire to Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that he would prefer a Rajya Sabha ticket instead of contesting the Lok Sabha poll in 2014.

Taken aback, Nitish is believed to have convinced the party chief that the move would send a wrong message to the rank and file of the JD (U).

 “The Opposition may say that JD (U) is a sinking ship as its national president is running away from the Lok Sabha polls and is making a back-door entry to the House of Elders,” Nitish is believed to have conveyed to Sharad, with an additional offer that should he so desire, he may shift to a safer seat like Nalanda, Nitish’s home turf.

Sharad is adept in political history and was aware of what happened to former JD (U) president George Fernandes when he shifted to Nalanda. Sharad gave up the idea of not contesting from Madhepura.

His critics now argue that the reason behind his fear of or reluctance to contest the election was generated because his opponent is Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav, the strongman of Madhepura, who won the polls in 2004 even when he was behind bars.

Actually, in the 2004 Lok Sabha election, Lalu Prasad Yadav had defeated Sharad Yadav. But since Lalu had also won from Chapra, he resigned from Madhepura.

The bypoll that followed in 2004, saw Pappu Yadav contesting as the RJD nominee even though he was in jail on the charge of killing CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar.

Such was the clout of Pappu Yadav in this belt that the ‘heavyweight’ emerged triumphant.

 In 2009, he was disallowed by the court to contest following his conviction (and sentenced to a life-term) in the Sarkar murder case.

But last year, the Patna High Court acquitted him for want of evidence in the same murder case.

Now that Pappu has been set free and absolved of the murder charge, he, as Lalu’s nominee, is in a direct fight against Sharad Yadav.

“Pappu is like my family member. And Madhepura is like my second home. That’s why I, as Railway Minister, had okayed the proposal to set up an electric locomotive factory here worth Rs 1,500 crore,” said Lalu Prasad, while campaigning for his protégé.

The aggressive campaign by Lalu is creating problems for Sharad Yadav who fears that the minorities may desert him as the JD (U) candidate from neighbouring Kishanganj withdrew from the race to support the Congress candidate so as to avoid ‘split of secular votes’. The move may have a cascading effect in Madhepura too.
  
“In the direct fight between the two strong Yadavs, Pappu has an edge.

The only thing to be watched is his winning margin,” opined Rajesh Kumar, a local scribe in the Kosi belt. The word in Madhepura is: “Rome Pope ka aur Madhepura Gope ka, (If Rome belongs to Pope, Madhepura belongs to Gope (Yadavs).”

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