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Sadhu shifts seat
- Rabri brother moves from Saran fight

Patna, April 4: Sadhu Yadav, the estranged brother of Rabri Devi, has decided to withdraw his candidature from Saran from where his sister is contesting the Lok Sabha election and instead join the ring at neighbouring Maharajganj.

Sadhu had earlier announced he would contest from Saran, about 80km north of Patna, against his sister and defeat her.

Speaking to The Telegraph today, Sadhu declared that he had decided to shift because of the “pressure of the people” of Maharajganj, about 35km from Saran, and not out of any brotherly affection. “Over 1,000 people of Maharajganj came to meet me and demanded that I should stand from Maharajganj. I have bowed to the will of the people,” he said, and vehemently denied that he had made any sort of agreement with RJD chief Lalu Prasad or Rabri.

Sadhu, once considered an extra-constitutional force along with his brother Subhash Yadav in the Lalu-Rabri regime, had created a political stir last year when he met Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi in Ahmedabad and praised him as a better candidate for Prime Minister than Rahul Gandhi. He was then in the Congress and was immediately expelled. However, he failed to find a nest in the BJP whose Bihar unit was stoutly opposed to his entry. Since then Sadhu has remained an “independent”.

Having gone into political oblivion, Sadhu sought to get back into the public eye by declaring that he would contest as an Independent from Saran, the seat brother-in-law Lalu had to forfeit following his conviction in a fodder scam case in September last year. Sadhu’s announcement sparked outrage in the Lalu household. Rabri dubbed her brother a “dushman, an enemy” and a vote katuwa, spoiler. Lalu and his son Tejaswi declared that Sadhu would get the lowest tally of votes at Saran.

Maharajganj is currently represented by the RJD’s Prabhunath Singh, considered a strongman of the area. Prabhunath won the Maharajganj parliamentary seat last year in a bypoll with a convincing margin of over 1.5 lakh votes against the JD(U)’s P.K. Shahi, the state education minister. Once a confidant of chief minister Nitish Kumar, Prabhunath switched loyalties to Lalu after the 2009 Lok Sabha poll. The Maharajganj constituency has a strong population of Rajputs and Yadavs, considered rivals. However, in the byelection, Yadavs and Rajputs came together to vote for him.

Political circles say that Sadhu could still play spoiler in Maharajganj, where there is a three-cornered contest between Prabhunath, the JD(U)’s Manoranjan Singh Dhumal and Janardan Singh Sigriwal of the BJP.

“There is no major Yadav candidate in the contest. If Sadhu cuts into the Yadav votes, it may help Sigriwal. After all, the alliance between Yadavs and Rajputs is considered a temporary phenomenon. The Yadavs and Rajputs have been traditional rivals in this area,” said an RJD leader.


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