With her husband by her side, Misa Bharti, Lalu Prasad’s 37-year-old eldest daughter, waited to meet RJD Rajya Sabha MP Ram Kripal Yadav at his Delhi residence for over five hours on Friday.
She had an offer for the man who has for years been considered perhaps her father’s closest aide, but he chose to respond to her only late at night — by when Misa’s position seemed to have shifted a little. And developments in Patna suggested that the reconciliation Misa appeared to have desired had moved further away.
Yadav was at home, talking to a TV channel around 1 pm when Misa arrived unannounced and parked herself in his living room. Yadav’s son, Abhimanyu, told her that Yadav would be with her shortly. But Yadav switched off his mobile phone and left without meeting her.
Misa waited for him until the evening, but he did not return.
Yadav has been furious with Lalu for giving the RJD ticket for Pataliputra, the Lok Sabha seat he had been eyeing, to Misa. Lalu’s daughter went to Yadav’s home in the afternoon to offer to give up her ticket for him.
“I would like to forego my candidature to have my uncle (Yadav) by my side, if that is what he wants. I have not come to a stranger’s home here; I have always regarded this as my own house. But today he chose to go away without meeting me. So I am waiting,” Misa told The Indian Express while sitting in front of the TV in Yadav’s living room.
“It was he (Yadav) who had always encouraged me to enter politics. Now that I am about to contest elections, I don’t want my chachaji to leave us over such a minor issue,” she said.
RJD sources said Yadav was in touch with the BJP for the Pataliputra ticket. Yadav himself denied this on Friday morning. “There is no such talk. I will decide what I will do,” he told reporters before leaving home.
Drinking multiple cups of tea for over five hours, Misa said she had not eaten lunch or breakfast since she heard on Friday that Yadav was upset. “My children are calling me and asking me to come back. But I want to meet him first and explain to him that the ticket is not an issue as far as I am concerned,” she said.
Misa said Yadav, who still has two years left of his term in the Rajya Sabha, never indicated to the party that he wanted to contest the Lok Sabha elections, let alone from Pataliputra. “I felt the Pataliputra seat would be good for me because I am a resident of that area and party workers wanted someone from our family to contest from there since my father contested from that seat.”
She said she wanted to carry forward her family’s name in politics. “It is not my fault that I was born Lalu Prasad’s daughter, and it should not be held against me.” Pataliputra is considered a Yadav seat, and is currently held by the JD(U)’s Ranjan Prasad Yadav, who defeated Lalu by a small margin.
Sensing a crack in the RJD camp, Lok Janshakti Party leader Chirag Paswan said Yadav was welcome in the NDA. However, Yadav himself remained unavailable. An anticipated meeting with BJP president Rajnath Singh did not happen.
By evening, when it seemed clear that Yadav would not return home to meet her, Misa said she had no choice but to leave. “I am leaving now. But I will come back once again tomorrow.”
Yadav’s reaction came late in the evening: he said he would accept Misa’s offer to give up her ticket. But Misa told The Indian Express that while her offer still stood, Yadav would now have to meet and discuss the matter with the RJD president (Lalu).
“The decision to give me the ticket from Pataliputra was taken by the parliamentary board of RJD, so it is best that he discusses everything in the party forum with the party president,” she said.
Sources said a meeting of the RJD cadre of the Pataliputra seat decided late in the evening to back Misa as their candidate. Hours earlier, the RJD had removed its Bihar party spokesman Randhir Yadav, considered close to Ram Kripal.
Waiting at Ram Kripal’s home, Misa repeatedly said she hoped her uncle would not leave. That hope appeared to be diminishing rapidly.