| Ram Kripal Yadav and (above) Dr Gopal Prasad on way to filing their nominations in Patna on Wednesday. Pictures by Deepak Kumar
Thousands turned up on Wednesday as BJP candidate from Pataliputra, Ram Kripal Yadav, filed his nomination.
The turnout was huge, nothing like that seen during filing of nominations for the first phase of election. Around 3,000 people came to Gandhi Maidan to hear out Ram Kripal.
RJD president Lalu Prasad’s one-time loyalist, Ram Kripal, used the occasion to seek votes for BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Though Lalu has attacked him for joining the BJP, Ram Kripal desisted from hitting out at Lalu.
Ram Kripal set off from his house in Goriatoli around 10.30am and reached BJP state office on Beer Chand Patel Marg, where he met BJP workers and supporters. Outside the office, his supporters kept on shouting slogans in his favour.
The party’s candidate from Pataliputra did not leave the office until BJP state unit president Mangal Pandey arrived and accompanied him till Kargil Chowk. Unlike other leaders who prefer to be driven down to the Patna Collectorate in an SUV, Ram Kripal walked down from Kargil Chowk.
While entering the gate, he saw around 500 people waiting for him, some sitting there since morning. A staunch Ram Kripal supporter and West Lohanipur resident, Ravi Yadav, said: “I have been waiting for my leader since 9am. For me, which party he is in hardly matters, what matters is the candidate, Ram Kripal Yadavji, who is a mass leader always ready to help the people in troubled times. It is his love and affection for poor people that has forced me to stand and wait for him in this scorching heat.”
After filing the nomination by 1.46pm, Ram Kripal went to Gandhi Maidan where a programme was organised.
Asked about his contest against Lalu’s eldest daughter Misa Bharati, who addresses him as “uncle”, Ram Kripal told The Telegraph: “There is no fight between people. The nation wants Narendra Modi, so it is a fight between two ideologies. Family ties will always remain. This is a fight for thought and vision. People of this country have made up their mind to give the mandate to the BJP and it will happen in this election.”
Others who filed their nomination on Wednesday included JD(U)’s Patna Sahib candidate, neurologist Gopal Prasad Sinha. He set out from the JD(U) office in an open hood SUV accompanied by food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak, MLC Sanjay Singh, MLA Poonam Devi and member of Bihar state citizen council Chotu Singh.
Flashing the victory sign, the smiling 74-year-old doctor said: “I have full faith in the people of Patna Sahib and I am sure they will vote for the JD(U), which believes in justice with development.” Around 100 of his supporters and party workers followed him on motorbikes to the Patna Collectorate.
Deshi Kishan Party president Kumar Indu Bhushan Singh reached the collectorate on a bullock cart. Slain Ranvir Sena chief Brahmeshwar Singh Mukhiya’s son, Indu, filed his nomination papers from Pataliputra.
Kundan Prasad Singh, father of Rahul Raj, killed by Mumbai police in October 2008 after he allegedly hijacked a bus over the “plight” of Biharis in Maharashtra, filed his nomination papers for Pataliputra seat on an Aam Aadmi Party ticket.