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'Don't Know What Problem Laluji Has With Me'

April 22, 2024 08:48 IST
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'Laluji is like my father and I am like his son.'

IMAGE: Rajesh Ranjan 'Pappu' Yadav meets the family of Rahul Kumar who was killed by criminals in Patna. All photographs: ANI Photo

Rajesh Ranjan 'Pappu' Yadav last month merged his Jan Adhikar Party with the Congress to contest the Lok Sabha election from Purnea.

Though Pappu Yadav tried hard to convince Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav to allot the Purnea seat for the Congress -- Congress leaders too approached Lalu for the constituency -- Lalu was adamant about fielding a RJD candidate.

Pappu Yadav will now contest the election as an Independent and plans to give a tough fight to sitting Janata Dal-United MP Santosh Kushwaha, who won the seat twice, in 2014 and 2019, and RJD candidate Bima Bharti.

In 2008, Pappu Yadav was sentenced to life imprisonment for his alleged involvement in the murder of Communist Party of India-Marxist MLA Ajit Sarkar in June 1998.

In 2013, the Patna high court acquitted Pappu Yadav in the case, citing lack of evidence.

Pappu Yadav is what Biharis call a Bahubali, someone known for muscle power in Bihar's flood-prone Seemanchal and Kosi regions. In recent years, he has been known more for helping Biharis when they have encountered adversity, whether it was the unprecedented water logging in Patna in 2019 or helping citizens during the COVID-19 crisis with medicines, food and other necessities.

"Those who tried to finish me off and treated me like an enemy by ensuring that I should not contest the polls as a Congress candidate from Purnea, people will give a befitting reply to them in the elections, not only in Purnea but in other Lok Sabha seats in Seemanchal, Kosi and Mithilanchal," Pappu Yadav, who won elections to the Lok Sabha in 1991, 1996, 1999, 2004 and 2014, tells Senior Contributor M I Khan.


IMAGE: Pappu Yadav in Patna.

Is this election a challenge for you because you are contesting against JD-U and RJD candidates?

I am contesting for the people of Purnea. There is no challenge because people are with me. The response of the people is overwhelming.

I am confident, a hundred percent sure and hopeful, that people have made up mind to elect me and send me to Parliament this time as their jan-pratinidhi (MP).

People in Purnea fully understand that Pappu Yadav is a jan-sewak, he is easily available for everyone, and his gate is open for all.

There is no doubt among people about it because I have been working seven days a week and 24 hours a day. My life is for the people. I am even ready to sacrifice my life for them.

I am the son of Purnea, the land of Purnea is my mother. I will always remain its son and a mother will never discard or neglect her son.

The people of Purnea have always supported me as I won the seat thrice.

I have full faith because the mood is visible across Purnea, from busy roads to narrow lanes in towns and rural belts.

Those who tried to finish me off and treated me like an enemy by ensuring that I should not contest the polls as a Congress candidate from Purnea, people will give a befitting reply to them in the elections, not only in Purnea but in other Lok Sabha seats in Seemanchal, Kosi and Mithilanchal.

I had announced last month itself that come what may I will contest from Purnea and will not change my stand.

I refused an offer by Lalu Prasad to contest the Madhepura Lok Sabha seat. He wanted me to merge my party with the RJD.

IMAGE: Pappu Yadav with Bajrang Punia, Sakshi Malik and Vinesh Phogat during the wrestlers' protest at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi.

After you merged your Jan Adhikar Party with the Congress, you were expected to contest as a Congress candidate from Purnea, but the seat went to the RJD under the Mahagathbandhan's seat-sharing formula.
The Congress failed to stand with you and even asked you to withdraw and not to contest.

I never expected that the RJD would snatch this seat from the Congress and would do everything to push me in a situation not to contest the polls. But I had committed to the people that I would contest from Purnea and I am contesting.

Purnea was a traditional Congress seat and a party stronghold for years. The RJD played tricks and got the Purnea seat even though the last time an RJD candidate fought a Lok Sabha election from Purnea, it was in 1998. The candidate was defeated.

There was a conspiracy by some powerful leaders to crush my political career. I failed their move.

I was with the Congress and will continue as a Congress worker for its ideology. I have the blessings of the top Congress leadership.

IMAGE: Pappu Yadav addresses a press conference in Patna.

Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee President Akhilesh Prasad Singh repeatedly claims that the Congress has nothing to do with Pappu Yadav.

It is his personal view. As I told you, the blessings of the Congress leadership are with me.

As of now, the people's overwhelming support is such in Purnea that I am far ahead in the race.

The poll result on June 4 will reveal the real story. I will win the seat for Congress-led INDIA.

IMAGE: Pappu Yadav at the press conference in Patna.

Tejashwi Yadav accuses you of being the BJP's B team.

If contesting the polls against the RJD candidate means helping the BJP, then what about Mamta Banerjee's TMC contesting against the Congress-Left in West Bengal? AAP is contesting against the Congress in Punjab and CPI's leader D Raja's wife is contesting against Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad.

Are they also the B team of the BJP? Certainly not. Rahul Gandhi never terms them so.

I have been speaking against the BJP's politics of Hindu-Muslim and will not allow this to happen in Purnea. I have spoken against the BJP in my speeches in Parliament.

Tejashwi is free to visit Purnea for the campaign, but it will not help his candidate because she is out of the race.

Why does Lalu Yadav's family have a problem with you?

I don't know what problem Laluji has with me.

I always stand with him and helped him due to my emotional attachment to him.

Laluji is like my father and I am like his son. He understands this.

Feature Presentation: Rajesh Alva/

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