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Lalu back in action

Patna, May 10: Down and out a few months ago, Lalu is bounding with renewed energy these days.

In February, Lalu — debarred from elections — picked up a stick to beat an RJD ticket aspirant at 10 Circular Road. His leaders were revolting and seat-sharing negotiations with the Congress was turning to be a frustrating exercise.

Today, he is running a focused campaign — Nitish is no factor, stop Narendra Modi’s chariot in Bihar. The revival of Lalu’s M-Y combination has been the key to RJD’s resurgence. Fielding daughter Misa Bharti from the Pataliputra parliamentary seat and wife Rabri Devi from Saran has not pushed away his core voters away over dynasty politics too.

A senior BJP leader conceded: “From that point to today, when it is believed that the RJD is going to revive itself, Lalu has worked wonders. He is a fighter.”

Even before campaigning, he had been careful in selecting his candidates. He fielded old warhorses, including Abdul Bari Siddiqui, and gave the Congress candidates who are no less than RJD men. He gave Nitish a fleeting reference, calling him Modi’s yaar (friend).

In Motihari (around 160km north of Patna) on Saturday, he had few gems to offer while speaking at his last election rally.

Referring to Nitish’s “divorce” with the BJP over Modi’s candidature for prime ministership, Lalu said: “Ka kaini hum kasoor ki balamua nayanwa se durkaila ho (What sin did I commit that I have been rejected by my husband)”.

Political pundits, however, believe Lalu’s combination has a weakness too. They point out that the RJD has not been able to look beyond the M-Y factor and that could mean its resurgence would be limited.

His stakes are high. The elections would not only decide his political future but also of his heirs, Tejaswi and Misa, and Lalu would surely be keeping his figures crossed.