The churning that major parties are going through is there for all to see at Beer Chand Patel Marg where the JD(U), BJP and RJD have their offices.
On Friday, the level of activity there varied from ‘high’ to ‘low’ to ‘calm’ depending on which party’s office one was visiting.
The BJP office was decked up in colour, fervour and confidence. Former animal and fish resources minister Giriraj Singh, known for his robust physique and comments, was talking to a young man about fishes. As he discussed the business prospects, Singh couldn’t help touch on what was topmost on his mind. “By Mahadev’s (Lord Shiva) grace, if the party gives me a ticket, it is well and good. Otherwise, I will get into the fisheries business and help farmers,” Giriraj said.
The party office was teeming with people, many there to marvel at the many four-wheelers remodelled and flaunting pictures of the party’s poll mascot, Narendra Modi.
“This is our rath (chariot). It will win us the elections by shattering the others,” a party member said, brimming with confidence. As the day progressed, the service road leading to the party office’s main gate saw a stream of SUVs from which emerged leaders with smiling faces and folded hands before they entered the office.
“Mahaul accha hai. Bohot bada din hai aaj. (The vibes are good. It is a very important day today),” leader of the opposition Nand Kishore Yadav told The Telegraph as he entered the office.
Beer Chand Patel Marg, like any other road on any other day, comes alive before every election. If the BJP office was all smiles, the RJD seemed to be in an argumentative mood.
Lalu Prasad’s homecoming after his conviction in the fodder scam and his single-handedly crushing a revolt within the party gave his members new hope but party MP Ram Kripal Yadav’s disappointment at being denied a ticket has set off a heated debate.
The mood was sombre as a group of people sat talking about how Lalu’s daughter Misa getting a ticket from Pataliputra had left old aide Ram Kripal dejected.
Suddenly, a party worker stormed a meeting room where a group of workers were seated. He shouted at them: “Misa hamari beti hai. Patna ki beti hai. Ram Kripal ko Lalu ne banaaya. Kya the woh? Unko sab kuch Laluji ne diya. Misa Bharti zindabad. (Misa is our daughter. She is Patna’s daughter. It was Lalu who made Ram Kripal whatever he is today. What was his stature earlier? Long live Misa Bharti).”
He went on shouting while others tried to calm him down. Outside, another party worker said: “Ram Kripal has stood by Laluji for years now. He wept when Laluji went to jail. He stood with the party in its bad days. Even now, the party is starting from scratch again. In such a scene, old aides cannot be discarded.”
To this, another, 50-year-old man, retorted angrily: “Ram Kripal has been the party’s MP for long. Laluji gave him a ‘lal batti’ (a red beacon car). Look at the condition of the party now. All those who were called goons when the RJD was in power have moved to the JD(U) and are today called wonder leaders. It is high time youngsters came to the forefront and started party affairs anew. Jaana hai toh jaye woh. Tabhi toh hume bhi chance milega naa. Koi izzat nahi hai abhi tak party me. (If he wants to go, let him go. Only then will we too get a chance. We haven’t found got respect here after years.”
As they debated, an SUV stopped in front of the office. A man dressed in kurta, jeans, sports shoes and sunglasses emerged and, still talking on his cellphone, rushed into the office. “Khel ho gaya, khel ho gaya. (The game has been played),” he was saying angrily.
A few metres ahead there was absolute quiet at the ruling JD(U)’s office. All doors to the many rooms, including that of the party president, were locked and only a handful were sitting idly under a shed.
“Unko halla aur khushi manane dijiye naa. Last me hansi hamari hi hogi.”(Let them make noise and be happy. The last laugh will be ours only,” one of them said.
A plant, which partymen said would grown up to be a tall tree, lay unattended in the middle of the compound. It was a sad sight with sweetmeat boxes and shrivelled garlands thrown all around.
The plant could do with some fresh water, just the way chief minister Nitish Kumar could do with a breath of fresh air, someone remarked.