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|October 7, 1999||
Yadavs queer the pitch for Laloo
Curiously, it is the Yadavs who let Laloo Prasad down in Bihar.
Though initial statistics reveal that 76 per cent of the Yadavs and 77 per cent of the Muslims voted for his party, the fact is that all the six Yadav candidates of the BJP-Janata Dal-United combine worsted the RJD- Congress candidates. And that has been a rude shock for Laloo Yadav.
Four Yadav BJP- JD-U candidates defeated Yadav RJD nominees and Hukum Deo Narayan Yadav of the BJP snatched the Madhubani seat from Dr Shakil Ahmed of the Congress.
If that were not enough, some Yadav RJD leaders tried to sabotage the contest in some constituencies. In fact, a day before the October 3 election a party insider, while talking to rediff.com, accused a state minister of ensuring the defeat of Shakuni Chaudhary in Banka, Vijay Kumar Yadav in Munger and Naina Rana in Khagaria.
While the election to Khagaria has been put off for October 28 due to floods, the RJD has already lost both Banka and Munger.
In Patna too the RJD lost the initiative early when one party man, Dr Ramanand Yadav, revolted and came back as an Independent candidate. For the official party candidate and two-time MP, Ram Kripal Yadav, situations were clearly out of hand. With the Yadav votes thus divided, the seat went to the BJP's Dr C P Thakur.
But the most surprising result for the RJD came from Yadav-dominated North Bihar constituencies. In 1998 the RJD-Congress combine won 18 out out 26 seats of North Bihar. This time, the Yadav RJD candidates lost to the BJP's Yadav candidates in Jhanjharpur, Saharsa, Madhepura (though the victor has not been announced yet) and Sitamarhi. Last time , the RJD won all four seats.
In two of the four constituencies going to thhe polls on October 28 too, the Yadavs are likely to torpedo Laloo Yadav's sinking boat. In Purnea Pappu Yadav, the JD-U rebel, is in a strong position. If he does not win, he will at least mar the prospects of the Communist Party of India-Marxist candidate. The CPI-M has an alliance with the RJD.
Though no senior party official is willing to go on record on the reverses, party sources said leaders like Jaya Prakash Narayan Yadav, who were once very close to Laloo Yadav, were perturbed over the party chief's excessive reliance on people like party general secretary Shivanand Tiwary, Shakuni Chaudhary, Kanchan Bala, Brishen Patel etc.
"These are the people who were instrumental in sending Lalooji behind bars. What a surprise that today he is dancing to their tune," one of them said.
But Ravindra Prasad 'Laddu', a close associate of RJD MLC Bhola Prasad Singh, said Laloo lost because he had stopped abusing the upper caste men of late, even befriended some of them. Prasad, though a Kurmi, edits a monthly bulletin, Shambuk, known for its anti-caste and pro-Laloo stand. Some political commentators and journalists also feel that Laloo received the biggest drubbing in his life because he had softened his attitude towards the upper caste.
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