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Turncoats set for battlefront

Patna, March 10: The pre-poll crossover syndrome has struck leaders again even as Pataliputra is waiting for a chacha-bhatiji (uncle-niece) showdown.

Days of backdoor negotiations appear to have found its natural consequence on Monday with two leaders — Pappu Yadav and Ghulam Gaus — changing camps and another, Ram Kripal Yadav, waiting to join the BJP tomorrow.

Pappu, once accused in the murder of CPM MLA Ajit Sarkar, returned to the RJD after almost a decade. Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu, who earlier represented Madhepura and Purnea in Parliament, declared that Lalu Prasad was the only leader who had fought for secularism.

However, Lalu lost a Muslim leader when three-term MLC Ghulam Gaus quit the RJD and joined the JD(U) in presence of chief minister Nitish Kumar and Bashishtha Narayan at 1 Aney Marg today.

Later, during a meet with reporters, Gaus did not hide his reason for quitting the RJD. “I did not get a ticket,” he said, claiming that he would contest from Madhubani.

However, Lalu sounded calm: “Jaaney waley ko kaun rok sakta hai (Who can stop persons wanting to go)?”

In another key development, RJD Rajya Sabha MP Ram Kripal has decided to contest against Lalu’s daughter Misa Bharati from the Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat.

Supporters of the MP held a meeting with him and asked him to contest the polls. They added that it was for Ram Kripal to decide which party he should join. Ram Kripal, according to his followers, stressed that secularism was in his soul. “I will remain a secular in whichever party I go,” the MP, quoted by a supporter, said. However, there are strong indications that Ram Kripal has opted for the BJP.

A highly popular leader in Patna and the adjoining areas, both the BJP and the JD(U) were wooing Ram Kripal. JD(U) leaders Ram Chandra Prasad and Bashishtha Narayan Singh made an open offer to Ram Kripal to join the party. Even the BJP’s new ally, LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, urged the rebel RJD MP to join the NDA.


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