|Misa Bharati , Lalu Prasad
, Patna, March 6: Lalu Prasad, who pushed through the cheekiest succession act in India by hoisting his wife on the chief minister’s chair, has now fielded daughter Misa Bharati as a Lok Sabha candidate in Bihar.
Misa, the eldest of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi’s children and named after a draconian Emergency-time law under which the RJD chief was imprisoned by the Indira Gandhi regime, will contest from Pataliputra, a seat on the outskirts of Patna, which he had lost from in 2009.
In handing out seats, Lalu Prasad has been kinder to his wife than to his daughter. This time, Rabri Devi has been given the ticket from Saran, the seat Lalu Prasad won in 2009 but had to forfeit following his conviction in the fodder scam in September last year.
Now out on bail, Lalu Prasad himself cannot contest for 11 years unless his conviction is overturned by a higher court.
The doting father said he had lost the Pataliputra seat in the last polls and his daughter would win it for him. “We should encourage daughters in politics,” Lalu Prasad said, adding that Misa was the “daughter-in-law” of Pataliputra. Misa, a doctor, is married to IT engineer Shailesh, who hails from Danapur, which falls under the Pataliputra parliamentary constituency.
Misa, the eldest of nine children of Lalu and Rabri, was born during the Emergency when Lalu was in jail under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA), which was used by the Indira Gandhi government to send thousands of political rivals to jail.
Misa completed her MBBS with record marks from Patna Medical College and Hospital. But she has rarely practised medicine. During a party rally last year, Misa had declared onstage that she would contest the next Lok Sabha polls.
The names of the mother and the daughter were among those announced by Lalu Prasad in 25 of the 27 seats set aside for the RJD after a deal was reached with the Congress. Besides pitching for his wife and daughter, he has fallen back on warhorses and Muslim-Yadav candidates. In 40-seat Bihar, the Congress will contest 12 seats and the NCP one.
Lalu Prasad has already named his sons Tejaswi and Tej Pratap as the inheritors of his political legacy. However, Tejaswi, a former cricketer, is not yet 25 — the minimum age for contesting a Lok Sabha election. Therefore, Misa, who has not hidden her desire to contest elections, was made the candidate. Tej Pratap hasn’t shown an inclination for politics so far.
“It was a question of whether Lalu keeps his family united or his party united. He chose the family,” said an RJD leader.
He was proved prescient soon enough — the family affair touched off a revolt in the party.
RJD MP Ram Kripal Yadav, perceived as the Man Friday of the RJD chief, went incommunicado and is reported to have resigned from the party.
Sources said he is seeking an entry into the BJP so that he can be fielded as the candidate from Pataliputra.
Ram Kripal, seen as Lalu Prasad’s shadow, was absent when the RJD boss was announcing the list of 25 candidates. Usually accessible at any time of the day, his cellphone was switched off throughout the evening.
State RJD president Ram Chandra Purbey, who wanted to contest from Muzaffarpur — a seat that has fallen in the Congress’s kitty — was also absent from Lalu’s media meeting.
BJP sources claimed that Ram Kripal was “in contact” with them and he was being considered for the Pataliputra seat.
Lalu Prasad denied that Ram Kripal had resigned but said he had heard such “rumours”. Without naming his former close confidant, Lalu Prasad said: “I do not care about party leaders who are crossing over to other parties, giving a burial to their principles. The people also do not care about these leaders.”
Ram Kripal, a Rajya Sabha member, has represented the Patna parliamentary seat thrice before delimitation.
In 2009, he wanted to contest from Pataliputra, which was carved out of the erstwhile Patna Lok Sabha constituency, but Lalu Prasad contested it himself and lost. Ram Kripal was compensated in the Rajya Sabha in 2010.