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'Bihar Won't Be Fooled By Lalu's Family'

Last updated on: May 31, 2024 09:16 IST
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IMAGE: Ram Kripal Yadav, the incumbent MP and the Bharatiya Janata Party Lok Sabha candidate from Patliputra in Bihar, listens to the concerns of the people. All Photographs and Videos: Rajesh Karkera for

The moment you step into the narrow lane outside Bharatiya Janata Party MP and former Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav's home in Patna, you know this is an old style, rooted-among-the-people sort of politician.

The five-time MP is standing at the far end of a passage surrounded by ordinary people, most of whom have come seeking some sort of assistance.

It is the peak of electioneering where candidates spend their entire day campaigning, holding road shows or travelling in their far-flung constituencies, but Ram Kripal Yadav is at home meeting people this morning -- the scene is like that of a people's court.

It is around 9.30 am and 50-60 people are gathered outside his house, another 20 odd are sitting inside the verandah and courtyard of his very modest and ordinary home.

In the passageway which only has a single opening, Ram Kripal Yadav, kurta wet with sweat in the sweltering heat, is being gradually pushed towards the end of the passage which ends in a wall as the large group of waiting people keep closing in.

It is a shoulder-to-shoulder, your face behind someone's neck kind of situation. It is hot and suffocating inside the narrow passage, but the MP seeking another term seems unnerved -- only occasionally asking people to step back in a loud voice.

IMAGE: The crowd waiting to meet Ram Kripal Yadav.

Two of his assistants call out people from the waiting crowd to meet the MP while others are asked to stand back and wait their turn.

"Please wait... sit down... step back, he will meet each one of you," says one of the assistants. As people throng him, Ram Kripal Yadav hears their woes, one person collects applications which have formed a thick wad in his hand, another assistant keeps passing him the phone to answer calls.

Women supporters who have come to meet him from different locations of his constituency are seated inside the house. The assistant instructs someone to ensure they are given something to eat and drink. They later come and meet him in small groups.

A man with a bandaged forehead waits for almost two-and-a-half hours to complain that the police thana is not acting on his FIR. The wiry thin man was assaulted four months ago and was attacked yet again the previous day.

Ram Kripal Yadav calls up the DSP and asks him to take cognisance of the man's complaint. He tells him that the man is coming to the thana once again and that he will not tolerate his workers being beaten up and no action being taken against the assailants for whatever reason

The MP has built a reputation of being available to the people. "I have personally invited him for a school function twice and came away thinking that he would not come, but he surprised me by showing up on both occasions," recalls Dr S S Joseph, principal of the Holy Cross School in Anisabad that falls within his constituency.

IMAGE: Ram Kripal Yadav issuing instructions on the phone.

Ram Kripal Yadav, once a lieutenant of Lalu Yadav, is a grassroot politician who entered politics in the early 1990s. He resigned from the Rashtriya Janata Dal after Lalu Yadav denied him a ticket from Patliputra in 2014. Lalu fielded his daughter Misa Bharti instead.

Ram Kripal joined the BJP and has defeated Misa in Patliputra in the 2014 and 2019 general elections. He is locked in yet another electoral battle with Misa for the third time in 2024.

After a nearly three hour wait, he spoke at length to after he had finished dealing with the assembled people. He spoke with candour, flourish and argumentative belligerence -- all the hallmarks of a grassroot politician from the Hindi heartland.

The first of a two-part interview where he launches a blistering attack on Lalu Yadav's family-led RJD.

Watch: 'They have wealth, I have my people'

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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