| Misa Bharti |
The renegade chacha has had the last laugh.
Misa Bharti, firstborn of Lalu Prasad and Rabri Devi for whom the doting father sacrificed one of his closest lieutenants, has bit the dust in Pataliputra.
Misa, a qualified doctor who has never practised, looked set to be defeated from the Greater Patna seat that was once a pocket-borough of the party with Ram Kripal Yadav of the RJD taking a lead of over 40,000 votes by evening.
Ram Kripal, once a key aide of Lalu Prasad, had expected his boss to nominate him for the seat. But Lalu, himself barred from contesting polls following his conviction in the fodder scam, sprang a surprise by deciding that Pataliputra it had to be for his daughter’s baptism.
“I still respect Lalu as a political leader,” Ram Kripal said. “But agreeing to accept his kin as my leader is not acceptable.”
Ram Kripal, whom Misa addressed as chacha (uncle), crossed over to the BJP, was rewarded with the ticket from Pataliputra and decided to take head-on the challenge with Misa.
“If a doctor’s son can become a doctor and an engineer’s son can become an engineer, why cannot a politician’s daughter become a politician?” was Misa’s reply when she was asked why she wanted to join politics though she never had much experience. The inexperience showed as the results made it apparent that she was losing.
Misa stayed put at the 10 Circular Road home of Rabri Devi while her husband did the rounds of counting centres. He too could not be seen once Ram Kripal established his lead.
Misa — so named after a draconian Emergency-time law under which her father was jailed — has nurtured political ambitions for a long time. She surfaced in Gandhi Maidan during the Parivartan Rally organised by the RJD last year and announced that she would join politics. However, Lalu Prasad remained mum on the issue until he announced the name of Misa as the candidate for Pataliputra. “Misa is the daughter-in-law of Pataliputra,” Lalu had explained.
Residents of Pataliputra declared that Misa handled her campaign quite well and confidently. “However, the fact remains that Ram Kripal is a grassroots political worker available even at night. But Misa will not be available once she gets elected,” said Jai Kumar Yadav, a resident of Vikram, pointing out that a sizeable section of Yadavs preferred to vote for Ram Kripal instead of Misa because she would be inaccessible.
What also angered the people was that not only did Lalu ignore a loyal and popular party leader like Ram Kripal, he stopped to the level of visiting the house of a history-sheeter, Reetlal Yadav, so that he did not contest the elections and damage Misa’s chances. “It is not the way a politician hands over his legacy to his family members. Perhaps Misa will have to try another time,” said an RJD leader.