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Misa Bharti and Ram Kripal Yadav

Ram Kripal Yadav and Misa Bharti Clash in High-Stakes Patliputra Parliamentary Seat

By Neeraj Kumar

Patna: In the seventh and final phase of the Lok Sabha elections, 22 candidates from various parties including BJP, RJD, Bahujan Samaj Party, and All India Majlis-e-Ittehad-ul-Muslimeen (AIMIM) are contesting from the Patliputra parliamentary seat, one of the most significant and contested seats. In Patliputra, a close contest is expected between Rajya Sabha MP Misa Bharti, daughter of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate and former Union Minister Ram Kripal Yadav. The key question is whether Misa Bharti, who has lost the last two elections, can avoid a third consecutive defeat or if Ram Kripal Yadav will secure his third straight victory.

Historically, Patna, the capital of Bihar, was known as Patliputra. The Patliputra parliamentary constituency holds significant importance in Bihar’s political landscape. It was first a parliamentary seat in the 1952 general election. In that election, Congress candidate Sarangdhar Singh defeated Gyan Chand of the Socialist Party. Singh had a notable background as Vice Chancellor of Patna University (1949-52), President of the Bihar Chamber of Commerce (1949-51), and a member of the Constituent Assembly of India.

After 1952, the Patliputra seat was abolished, and the Patna Lok Sabha seat was created in 1957. Until 2008, Patna had only one Lok Sabha seat. However, post-delimitation, it was divided into two seats: Patliputra and Patna Sahib. Patliputra has witnessed numerous political battles throughout its history, including between prominent dynasties and modern political leaders.

In the 2009 elections, the newly established Patliputra Lok Sabha seat saw a major contest between RJD president Lalu Prasad Yadav and his former associate, JDU leader Ranjan Prasad Yadav. In a surprising outcome, Ranjan Prasad Yadav defeated Lalu Prasad Yadav by more than 23,000 votes, significantly impacting Lalu’s political standing.

The 2014 general election in Patliputra featured a dramatic political battle. Initially, Ram Kripal Yadav was expected to be the RJD candidate, but Lalu Prasad Yadav chose his daughter Misa Bharti instead. Feeling betrayed, Ram Kripal Yadav joined BJP, which capitalized on the situation by nominating him. In a contest portrayed as a fight between uncle and niece, Ram Kripal Yadav defeated Misa Bharti, contradicting the belief that he had chosen the wrong path by joining BJP.

Ram Kripal Yadav, once considered a close ally of Lalu Prasad Yadav, won by a margin of 40,322 votes. JDU candidate Ranjan Prasad Yadav finished third. Ram Kripal Yadav’s rebellion and subsequent victory led to his inclusion in the Narendra Modi cabinet. He had previously won the Patna parliamentary seat in 1993, 1996, and 2004. In 2019, Ram Kripal Yadav again defeated Misa Bharti by a margin of 39,321 votes.

Voting for the seventh phase of the Lok Sabha elections 2024, including the Patliputra seat, will be held on June 1. This seat is witnessing a direct contest between BJP, part of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), and RJD, part of the INDIA Alliance. The election here is seen as a matter of prestige for RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav. Ram Kripal Yadav aims for a third consecutive win on a BJP ticket, while Misa Bharti seeks to avoid a third straight defeat.

Both BJP and RJD candidates are confident of victory. Misa Bharti relies on Lalu Yadav’s Muslim-Yadav (MY) support base, while Ram Kripal Yadav campaigns on development and Modi’s leadership. Misa Bharti faces the challenge of upholding her father’s reputation, while Ram Kripal Yadav aims to maintain his winning streak. Ram Kripal Yadav is known for his close connection with voters, often defeating candidates with strong family backgrounds like Misa Bharti.

Prime Minister Modi’s recent roadshow in Patna and rally in Bikram Vidhansabha has boosted Ram Kripal Yadav’s campaign. Modi criticized RJD for being outdated and serving only a particular family. Misa Bharti, despite her past defeats, is confident of winning this time. Political experts also predict a tough contest due to the consolidated support from alliances.

Former Bihar Chief Minister and RJD leader Rabri Devi has campaigned for her daughter, asserting that there is a wave of change and the INDIA Alliance is poised to win. She criticized the BJP government for its policies, which she claims have led to widespread dissatisfaction. The BJP camp, meanwhile, is visibly active with leaders, including the Prime Minister, campaigning vigorously.

Ram Kripal Yadav has pledged to continue serving Patliputra and accused Misa Bharti of lacking familiarity with the constituency. Despite political differences, both acknowledge their familial ties, with Ram Kripal calling Misa his niece and vice versa. The outcome of this election will be closely watched to see if Ram Kripal Yadav continues his winning streak or if Misa Bharti secures her first victory.


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