The NaMo wave swayed a portion of Lalu Prasad’s core Yadav votes, triggering the defeat of his wife Rabri Devi in Saran and daughter Misa Bharti in Pataliputra.
The RJD leaders of Saran were shocked to see the lead of the BJP candidate, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, from the Chhapra Assembly segment spiralling over 39,000. Rudy led only by a little over by 5,000 from this segment in 2009, when Lalu emerged the winner in the Lok Sabha seat.
Worse was Garkha — a Yadav-dominated Assembly segment where Rabri led by only 600 votes. Lalu had led by over 20,000 votes in the same segment in 2009. Rabri’s highest lead — exactly 13,000 — was in the Para segment. Rabri ultimately lost by around 40,000 votes.
“A significant portion of Yadavs voted for Rudy because of the Modi wave,” said an RJD leader.
An RJD leader of Madhubani said: “The much-hyped MY (Muslim-Yadav) consolidation did not take place in several constituencies where we were sure to win. The party candidates from Darbhanga and Madhubani were shocked when the counting progressed on May 16. We trailed in the Assembly segments where we were supposed to lead because of the existing Yadav population.”
A leader of Raghuvansh Prasad Singh’s stature did not get the Yadav votes in Vaishali. The loss of Lalu’s core votes hurt the RJD the most possibly in Pataliputra, where Misa contested against the BJP’s Ram Kripal Yadav.
The Maner Assembly segment of the constituency has always played decisive role in the Lok Sabha constituency.
“Maner happened to be a part of Ara Lok Sabha seat in 2004 when the seats were not delimited. The then RJD candidate, Kanti Singh, led by a margin of about 50,000 in the segment — enough for her to win despite trailing in a couple of segments. Unfortunately, the voters of Maner never gave such a margin to either Misa this time or her father Lalu Prasad in 2009,” said Ramkaran Yadav a shopkeeper of Maner.
Lalu’s core support group — the Yadavs — are dominant in Maner. But Misa had a lead of only about 7,000 votes over her rival Ram Kripal. Her father, Lalu, had a lead of about 17,000 votes in the segment over his nearest rival Ranjan Prasad Yadav of the JD(U) in 2009.
“It is worrisome that our core vote is diminishing,” said an RJD MLA, stressing that it was an indication that a section of youths of the caste had been swayed by the Modi wave this time.
In the Danapur segment of the constituency, Lalu had conceded a lead of only about 13,000 votes. This time, Misa trailed by around 24,000 votes.
A semi-urban area, a large population of Danapur lives in the riverine belt. Most of them are Yadavs. As the sun rises in the east, the vote of this populace naturally went to only one party — the RJD.
Lalu had gone out of the way to persuade history-sheeter Rit Lal Yadav not to contest. Despite Rit Lal’s support, the Yadav votes were not evenly distributed in the riverine area in this general election. The RJD paid the price of letting a popular Yadav leader like Ram Kripal crossover to the BJP.
Phulwari is another Assembly segment in the Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency having a substantial Muslim and Kurmi votes. Ram Kripal managed to lead there also.
“There is definitely something wrong with our core votes. We should have taken a lead in Phulwari but trailed there,” said an RJD MLA.
Ranjan Prasad Yadav, the JD(U) candidate who defeated Lalu in the Pataliputra seat in 2009, admitted that he was also “blown over by the NaMo wave”.
“I had undertaken several development work in the constituency. Still I did not get votes,” said the outgoing MP.
Ranjan had defeated Lalu by a margin of around 16,000 votes.
In 2014, Ram Kripal was able to increase the lead over the RJD in the Vikram Assembly segment to about 20,000 from around 13,000, while Misa retained the lead of the RJD in Masuri and Paliganj Assembly segments. But the margins were small (varying from 2,500 to 12,000), prompting her defeat by around 40,000 votes.
Humbled in the poll debut, Misa is not dispirited. She courageously declared that she would continue with politics and strengthen her party before the Assembly polls. Her confidence stemmed from the people she connected with during the campaigning and the over 3 lakh votes she polled in the Pataliputra constituency.
Victor Ram Kripal Yadav conceded that it was a tough battle. “I was not fighting Misa Bharti but Lalu Prasad,” he said. But the people of Pataliputra confided in me.