Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Patliputra Seat : Yadav vs. Yadav vs. Yadav

Courtsey : The Hindu

Though named after the ancient Mauryan capital, Pataliputra is a totally rural Lok Sabha constituency. And, the battle here is shaping up to be an intriguing one. Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad is challenged by two Yadavs — former mentor Ranjan Prasad Yadav and former disciple Vijay Singh Yadav.
The second seat the RJD chief is contesting, Pataliputra is regarded as safe because of the domination of the Yadavs in the constituency. Mr. Prasad is also seeking election from the Saran Lok Sabha constituency, where votes were cast in the first phase of polling.
Mr. Prasad’s association with Dr. Ranjan Prasad Yadav dates back to the 1970s when the former shot into fame as the president of the students union of Patna University; he was associated with the JP movement. The geologist by training is credited with grooming Mr. Lalu Prasad in politics. Dr. Ranjan Prasad Yadav, who retired as a Reader in the Geology department, was placed in charge of higher education when Mr. Prasad was in power in the State. Now contesting on a Janata Dal (United) ticket, he was elected twice to the Rajya Sabha.
But the friendship did not last and Dr. Yadav allegedly began to nurse ambitions of being the Chief Minister of Bihar, much to the chagrin of the RJD chief. Dr. Yadav made a vain bid to seek the support of political parties opposed to Mr. Prasad in 1998.
The decade-long enmity has witnessed Mr. Prasad twice blocking Dr. Yadav’s attempt to get a third term in the Rajya Sabha. On his part, Dr. Yadav joined the Lok Jan Shakti Party and created a wedge between Ram Vilas Paswan and Mr. Prasad. That hurt Mr. Prasad politically, but once Mr. Paswan realised that it was damaging his interests as well, Dr. Yadav had no option but to quit the LJP and join the Janata Dal (United).
It is a somewhat different tale with the other Yadav — Vijay Singh Yadav. Earlier, the RJD president had got him a Rajya Sabha ticket as a reward for agreeing to drop out of the race in the Danapur Assembly election. Wooed by the Congress, Mr. Yadav quit the RJD and is now contesting against his benefactor.
The two Yadavs are also at loggerheads with each other. Dr. Yadav’s mission is to dislodge Mr. Prasad as the leader of the Yadavs. Dr. Yadav and Mr. Yadav have been campaigning relentlessly in the constituency for days together, while Mr. Prasad hit the campaign trail recently to nullify their impact and assert his supremacy.
He first paid a visit to a famous Muslim religious place in Phulwarisharif to assure himself of Muslim support and then went about wooing his constituency. In course of the two days Mr. Prasad offered prayers at local temples close to his public meetings as well.
The RJD chief launched a scathing attack against his two Yadav rivals, but was particularly harsh on Dr. Yadav, likening him to the mythological Bhasmasura who, after winning a boon from Lord Shiva, tried to destroy the latter.
Countering Dr. Yadav’s attempt to wean away the Yadavs from his fold through his Yadav Jagran (awareness) Manch, Mr. Prasad described it as the Yadav Maran (annihilation) Manch. He called upon his caste followers to remain united behind him, reminding them of how he had propped both of them up and showered them with favours, only to find that “they are nothing but snakes.”

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