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Raw deal to split Samrat

- Turncoats beware! Ticket promise can go awry at times

Patna, March 23: Some political turncoats struck gold by landing Lok Sabha tickets right away, others were left in the cold.

Rebel RJD MLA Samrat Choudhary and his father, former minister Shakuni Choudhary, are a case in point.

The son led a rebellion against RJD chief Lalu Prasad by getting 13 party MLAs unattached, while the father, a long-time Lalu loyalist, dubbed his leader a dictator who promoted dynasty. The day Samrat and RJD MLA Javed Iqbal Ansari rebelled, JD(U) circles were abuzz with talks Samrat would get the JD(U) ticket from Khagaria and Javed from Banka.

When the RJD’s Shakuni Choudhary officially joined the JD(U), it was speculated the party would field him from Khagaria and make Samrat a state minister.

“However, the party’s national president, Sharad Yadav, was not willing to ditch his follower, sitting Khagaria MP Dinesh Chandra Yadav, while the Banka seat went to alliance partner CPI. Shakuni, Samrat and Javed lost out. They had to be placated with assurances Samrat’s name would figure on the list in the next Lok Sabha polls,” said a JD(U) leader.

Similarly, RJD MLC Nawal Kishore Yadav switched to the BJP a month ago. It appeared the BJP would field him from Pataliputra. However, after Lalu fielded his daughter Misa Bharati from there, a high-profile drama unfolded and Lalu’s close confidant Ram Kripal Yadav sulked before he was declared the BJP candidate from Pataliputra. Nawal protested but it made little difference.

The lone LJP MLA, Zakir Hussain Khan, quit his party the day Ram Vilas Paswan said he would return to the NDA. Khan joined the JD(U) and was seen as the party’s candidate from Araria. However, his name was suddenly dropped to make way for former minister Vijay Kumar Mandal. The MLA cried foul and declared he would contest as an Independent but later withdrew.

Former minister of the Lalu-Rabri era, Ravindra Charan Yadav, joined the BJP and was flaunted as a possible candidate from Madhepura. Ultimately, the ticket went to former JD(U) minister Renu Kushwaha’s husband Vijay Kushwaha. Former Union minister Desai Choudhary left the RJD and joined the BJP with much fanfare and was likely to be fielded from Hajipur. But the seat went to the LJP chief. “Some change of loyalties did prove unlucky,” said a senior BJP leader.