Misa Bharti, who is a member of the Rajya Sabha, withdrew approval for projects worth Rs 15 crore sanctioned from her MPLAD funds soon after her defeat in the Lok Sabha election from Pataliputra seat, drawing criticism from political allies and adversaries alike. Reports had surfaced in the media that RJD chief Lalu Prasad's daughter, who got elected to the Upper House in July 2016, did not use her funds for the first couple of years of her tenure. Under the MPLAD scheme, a member of either House of Parliament gets Rs five crore every year for carrying out development works in his or her constituency.
The reports also stated that ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, Bharti splurged from her funds for rural Patna which the Pataliputra constituency covers. However, approvals for the projects were abruptly "withdrawn" after she lost the Pataliputra seat to sitting BJP MP and former Union minister Ram Kripal Yadav.
Confirming the development, a Planning Department official told media agencies on the condition of anonymity, "We have landed in trouble because of the sudden decision. We had received the MP's approval for projects worth Rs 15 crore and our department granted sanction for those worth Rs six crore.
"Now following her decision to withdraw the recommendation, we have to spend a lot of time and energy on paperwork," the official said.
While Bharti could not be reached for comment, RJD spokesman Mrityunjay Tiwari told reporters in Patna, "I cannot say anything about the matter until I have full knowledge about it."
Reacting to the episode, BJP spokesman Sanjay Singh 'Tiger' said, "This sends a very wrong message. Discrimination on the basis of whether or not people of a particular area have voted for you is undemocratic."
JD(U) spokesman Rajiv Ranjan Prasad echoed the view, saying, "This goes against democratic traditions. An elected representative represents even those whose vote he or she did not get. To withdraw projects on account of an electoral defeat is unbecoming of a lawmaker".
Congress MLC Prem Chandra Mishra, whose party is an alliance partner of the RJD, also disapproved of Bharti's action, saying, "Once a project has been approved, it should be implemented. Withdrawal of approval cannot be justified."
The Pataliputra constituency had come into existence in the 2008 delimitation exercise and has since remained a prestige issue for the family of the jailed RJD supremo, who had himself contested the seat in 2009 but lost to his former aide Ranjan Yadav, who was in the fray as a JD(U) candidate.
Five years later, when he was disqualified from contesting polls on account of conviction in a fodder scam case, he fielded Bharti, his eldest daughter, triggering a revolt by his staunch loyalist Ram Kripal Yadav, who gravitated towards the BJP and defeated her.
In the general elections this year, the party struck a bargain with the ultra-Left CPI(ML), which had garnered more than 50,000 votes in Pataliputra five years ago when Bharti lost.
While the RJD, which was leading the "Mahagathbandhan" and was supposed to contest 20 seats, gave up Arrah from its quota, the CPI(ML) reciprocated in Pataliputra, a move that was expected to boost Bharti's prospects.
However, Yadav retained the seat winning by a margin of about 40,000 votes, almost the same as five years ago.