Ahead of Bihar by-polls, according to the RJD's (Rashtriya Janata Dal) star campaigners' list released on Thursday, October 7, few names including Lalu Prasad's eldest daughter Misa Bharti, a Rajya Sabha MP, and elder son Tej Pratap Yadav have been dropped. The development comes as an attempt to control the single largest party in the state assembly by pushing the elder siblings to the margins in an intra-family feud. Further, the move is seen as sidelining of the older siblings in the party founded and headed by the father who has made little secret of his preference for Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, younger son and the Leader of the Opposition in the state assembly.
The party's principal national secretary-general Abdul Bari Siddiqui has signed the campaigners' list that comprises of 20 names, including Lalu Prasad, who is now out of jail and will canvass for his party's candidates for Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan assembly constituencies only if his health permits.
Prasad's wife and former chief minister Rabri Devi, a demure housewife-turned-politician is another notable omission. Lately, she was found more content playing the role of the family matriarch that often betrays hints of being torn apart by competing ambitions of her children.
RJD sources revealed that much shouldn't be anticipated from the development as those who aren't listed for under campaigners can canvass for the party provided the candidate in the fray is willing to foot the expenses.
Currently, BJP is the principal rival of RJD in the state who took on the opportunity to fish in troubled waters. State BJP spokesman and national general secretary of OBC morcha Nikhil Anand said in a statement RJD has finally signalled that both Tej Pratap Yadav and Misa Bharti are no longer desired by their own party and they must fend for themselves. Misa, a Rajya Sabha member, looks unlikely to be considered for another term while Tej Pratap has already floated his own organization.
The Congress too is hopeful of getting something out of the intra-family dynamics that control its bigger ally with RJD's unilateral announcement of candidates for Tarapur and Kusheshwar Asthan. While Ashok ram, who had earlier contested the reserved Kusheshwar Asthan seat in the assembly polls and whose son Atirek is the candidate for the upcoming by-poll, is expected to rope in Tej Pratap for the Congress campaign.
On the other hand, the Left Front has announced its full support to the RJD in the upcoming Nihar by-polls as they are furious over former JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar switching over to the Congress.
The five-party Grand Alliance helmed by the RJD comprises of the CPI(ML) Liberation, the CPI and the CPI (M) who together have about 20 MLAs along with the Congress.
Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose JD(U) in the assembly polls had won both the seats, when asked about his response over infighting in the opposition camp, said, "It is for you journalists to analyze".
The JD(U) has announced the candidate list for both the seats, which it seeks to retain with the backing of the BJP and smaller NDA partners like the Hindustani Awam Morcha and Vikassheel Insaan Party. On October 30, voting is scheduled to take place and results will be announced on November 2.