RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who Thursday announced candidates for 25 of 27 Lok Sabha seats it will contest in Bihar, said he was confident of his eldest daughter, Misa Bharti, joining politics. Lalu said he fielded Misa from Pataliputra under “pressure from party workers”. His wife and former CM Rabri Devi would contest from Saran, represented by Lalu till he was convicted in the fodder scam last year.
The list, which does not include Rajya Sabha MP and RJD principal general secretary Ramkripal Yadav and RJD leader in the Bihar Legislative Council Gulam Gous, has fuelled rebellion in the party. Sources said Ramkripal, who wanted to contest from Pataliputra, might quit but RJD national spokesperson Iliyas Hussain said he had no such information. Sources added that Ramkripal, a Lalu loyalist, has been in contact with the BJP, which might give him a ticket from Pataliputra. A senior BJP leader confirmed this and said the possibility of Ramkripal joining the party cannot be ruled out. Sources close to Ramkripal said he might take a “big decision” on Saturday. Gous, who wanted West Champaran, is also likely to quit the party.
Lalu maintained the Muslim-Yadav combination in the RJD list, with six Muslims and seven Yadavs in the fray. He may leave two seats — East Champaran and Madhepura — for former MP Pappu Yadav and his mother. A journalist, Pragati Mehta, will be the RJD nominee from Munger. Mehta, 35, is in-charge of Hindustan’s Gaya edition. He started his career as a stringer in Muzaffarpur before moving to Delhi for over two years to work with a Hindi daily. He then returned to Muzaffarpur and joined as Hindustan edition in-charge, before moving to Gaya. Mehta, an OBC, was seen as a surprise choice. About him, Lalu said, “Pragati padne likhne wale aadmi hain (Pragati is a well-read man).”
The party fielded its legislature party leader in the Assembly Abdul Bari Siddiqui from Madhubani — a seat which had become the bone of contention between the RJD and the Congress. The five other Muslim candidates are M A A Fatmi from Darbhanga, Hina Sahab (wife of convicted former MP Mohammed Sahabuddin) from Siwan, Anwarul Haque from Sheohar, Tanvir Hasan from Begusarai and Mohammed Taslimuddin from Araria.
Other Yadav candidates in the fray are Sitaram Prasad Yadav (Sitamarhi), J P Yadav (Banka), Krishna Kumari Yadav (Khagaria), S P Yadav (Jehanabad) and Rajballabh Yadav from Nawada.
The lone Brahmin candidate in fray is Raghunath Jha from West Champaran.