The Janata Dal United got a shot in the arm ahead of the parliamentary polls with Yadav strongman and three-time Rajya Sabha member Ranjan Prasad Yadav joining the party after quitting the LJP on Sunday. Ranjan,once touted as the man behind Lalu’s success,quit the LJP over its likely electoral pact with the RJD.
Though the NDA has not yet announced its candidates for the forthcoming Lok Sabha seats,Ranjan Yadav is likely to contest from the newly-carved Pataliputra constituency. With RJD chief and Ranjan Yadav’s former mentor Lalu Prasad expected to contest from Patliputra besides Saran,the stage is set for a clash between the Yadav titans. Ranjan had quit the RJD and joined the LJP in August 2004.
JD-U president Sharad Yadav,Bihar CM Nitish Kumar,former CM Ramsunder Das,party spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari and state president Lallan Singh were present at S K Memorial Hall here to welcome Ranjan Prasad. To further drive home their emphasis on Yadav solidarity,the programme was organised by Yadav Jagran Manch,an apolitical outfit.
While Ranjan Yadav showered praise on Bihar CM Nitish Kumar,he accused LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan of political opportunism in choosing to ally with Lalu. “When Ramvilas Paswan chose to side with Lalu Prasad,I had no option left but to embrace Vikas Purus Nitish Kumar”,said Ranjan. He said that Paswan used to refer to Lalu as a “back-stabber”. “But the avarice of getting more Lok Sabha seats made him sit in RJD’s lap,which was totally unacceptable to me”,Ranjan added.
He said he was ready to take the flak for having been part of the RJD at one point but sought to clarify that there had never been any corruption charges against him. He added that contrary to popular perception,Lalu’s reign was not one of the empowerment of the backward castes but that of the Yadav family alone.
Meanwhile,Nitish Kumar told Ranjan,”we have now given you such an arrow (JD-U membership) that can pierce through the lantern (RJD’s election symbol)”.