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Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Misa banks on Yadav, Muslim support to dash Kripal’s hat-trick hopes

In the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Ram Kripal, a former protege of Lalu, defeated Misa twice by a slender margin. In 2024, the moot point being discussed here is: Will Ram Kripal score a hat-trick win and ensure Misa’s defeat for the third consecutive time?
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 02:03 IST
Last Updated : 28 May 2024, 02:03 IST

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Patna: With the completion of six phases of elections in 32 out of 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, all eyes will now be on Pataliputra, the key constituency from where former Union minister and senior BJP leader Ram Kripal Yadav has locked horns with RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s eldest daughter Misa Bharti for the third consecutive time. 

In the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Ram Kripal, a former protégé of Lalu, defeated Misa twice by a slender margin. In 2024, the moot point being discussed here is: Will Ram Kripal score a hat-trick win and ensure Misa’s defeat for the third consecutive time? Or, Misa, being backed by the RJD, Congress, CPI, CPM, CPI-ML, and the VIP, will upset Ram Kripal’s apple cart and make her Lok Sabha debut this election?

With both the camps—the NDA and the I.N.D.I.A—pulling out all the stops to win this seat in the state capital, one thing is for sure: The victory margin would be again a very narrow one, given the neck-and-neck fight in this part of the cow-belt which has Muslims and Yadavs rooting for the RJD while the upper castes like Bhumihaar, Brahmin and Kayasthas backing the BJP to the hilt. Other Backward Class (OBCs) like Kurmi and Vaishyas too have pledged their loyalty towards the saffron camp, while Dalits and EBCs remain non-committal making it tough to predict which way the tide may swing. 

Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency came into existence in 2009, following delimitation, when Patna parliamentary constituency was bifurcated into two Lok Sabha seats: Patna Sahib and Pataliputra. Lalu Prasad, who served as Railway Minister from 2004 to 2009 in UPA-I, contested the first Lok Sabha election of Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency in 2009. To everyone’s surprise, he was, however, defeated by his friend-turned-foe Ranjan Yadav, who was then the JD(U) candidate and riding the popularity wave of Nitish Kumar’s good governance.

Things changed in 2014 when the BJP and the JD(U) parted ways ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. The BJP roped in Lalu’s confidant Ram Kripal Yadav who, due to his image of a helpful parliamentarian and backed by Modi’s popularity, trounced Misa Bharti in a straight contest. 

The scene remained unchanged in 2019. Having lost twice to Ram Kripal, it was believed that Misa may not be fielded again in 2024 but Lalu reposed his confidence in his MBBS doctor-daughter, who is also a Rajya Sabha member, and fielded her from Pataliputra as the Mahagathbandhan-backed RJD nominee. 

Misa Bharti
Misa Bharti

‘Core vote base intact’

“The core vote base of BJP is intact. But since a large part of the constituency is in rural Patna, it will be interesting to see which way the Extremely Backward Class (EBCs) and Dalits vote this time. Their voting pattern will be the deciding factor,” averred noted political scientist
Ajay Kumar.

Lok Sabha Elections 2024 | Will it be Narendra Modi's 'Viksit Bharat' or Rahul Gandhi's I.N.D.I.A.? As the world's largest democracy votes to choose its future, track live news, in-depth opinions, and analyses only on Deccan Herald.

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Published 28 May 2024, 02:03 IST

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