(Eds: Includes details of the road show held by Tej Pratap) Patna, Jan 3 (PTI) Tej Pratap Yadav, the elder son of Lalu Prasad, on Thursday announced out of turn that his eldest sister Misa Bharti will contest the Lok Sabha election from Pataliputra seat.
Tej Pratap also held a road show in parts of the seat that was carved out in the 2008 delimitation and is seen as a prestige issue for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) as both Lalu Prasad and Bharti have unsuccessfully contested from there.
Tej Pratap’s announcement at his daily ‘Janata Durbar’ held at the RJD headquarters is likely to ruffle the feathers of the Grand Alliance partners which included Congress and Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP).
The statement also gains significance as none of the political parties, including the RJD, have come out with their lists of candidates for the general elections yet.
Responding to a query on the wish expressed by Bhai Virendra, the party’s MLA from Maner which falls under Pataliputra, to contest the parliamentary seat, Tej Pratap said: “What stature does he have? None but Misa didi will contest the seat.” “The people of Pataliputra want Misa didi. Voters cast their votes in the name of Lalu Prasad. Neither Bhai Virendra nor I can do anything about it,” Yadav told reporters.
Bhai Virendra, who is also the state spokesperson of the party and considered to be close to Tejashwi, had expressed his desire to contest from the seat considering Bharti is at present a member of the Rajya Sabha.
In the road show, which left people bemused, the mercurial son of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi waved at the crowds from inside an open jeep.
Waving party flags and shouting slogans supporting Bharti, scores of Tej Pratap’s supporters followed him on foot, horses and in cars accompanied by a band.
The development comes in the backdrop of murmurs that a struggle for supremacy in the RJD is on between Tej Pratap, believed to be close to his sister, and younger brother Tejashwi.
The former deputy chief minister of the state, Tejashwi has emerged as the RJD’s de facto leader in the absence of Lalu Prasad who has been away from active politics for about a year on account of convictions in several fodder scam cases.
He is the leader of opposition in the state assembly and RJDs chief ministerial candidate for the next assembly polls.
Although Tej Pratap and Bharti have repeatedly denied reports of any rift in the family, speculations were rife about the elder sibling’s feeling of having been slighted under the shadow of the younger one.
The Pataliputra seat, which comprises rural areas of Patna district, is considered prestigious for the ‘first family’ of Bihar as in 2009 Lalu Prasad was defeated by his former protege Ranjan Yadav who fought as a JD(U) candidate.
Years later, Bharti had made an unsuccessful poll debut from the seat in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls as she lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s Ram Kripal Yadav, another former aide of her father.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.