#BiharPolls: Pappu Yadav may not matter in Phase 5. Here's why
- Today Bihar votes for the fifth and the last phase
- Pappu Yadav has a hold in the areas voting today
- Once upon a time Pappu was a Lalu aide
- The two Yadav leaders fell out after Pappu accused Lalu of furthering family interest
More in the story
- Will the voters back Pappu like they used to
- How much of today\'s voting will be on caste lines
The divide is clear in the fifth phase of Bihar polls: 'forward' versus 'backward' clearly.
The Jhas - some 500 families - of Maladh village under the Pipra Assembly seat are clear about "not giving a single vote to Teer-Lalten (Arrow-Lantern: the symbols of JD (U) and RJD, respectively)".
Similarly, the Yadav's of Kumhet village in the same constituency of Supaul district say "Na Pappu, na phool (Neither Pappu, nor flower)".
But why not Pappu? Isn't he a Yadav too?
The answer comes from the other side of the divide: "The vote is not for caste, but for the politics of caste," says Keenu Yadav, a retired army man in Kumhet.
Pappu may be a Yadav. But there are Muslim candidates on NDA tickets and upper caste hopefuls fielded by the Grand Alliance of the JD (U), the RJD and the Congress.
"When I vote for Pappu, I am not voting for Yadav politics or forward vs backward. But when I vote for Lalten and teer, I know we are voting for Lalu. In politics, idea matters, vision matters, not the caste", Keenu says.
The divide is clear: Kashinath Jha, a Brahmin voter, admits Nitish has worked, but he won't vote for the Bihar chief minister.
For the same reason, Pappu Yadav - despite a presence in Madhepura, Supaul, Saharsa and Purnia - doesn't seem to be in a position to achieve his goal of stopping Lalu's chariot.
"Is baar lalten ke joor ba saheb. Vote pari gathbandhan mein. Phool ke kuch na milega (This time the force is with the Lantern. The votes will be for the Grand Alliance, and the flower will get none)," says
Raj Kumar Yadav, a 25-year-old panwala at Gamhariya Bazaar. He though would vote for Pappu as the leader had helped his brother get admission in a school: "Humra vote kharab jaye phir bhi Pappuji ke milega (Let it go waste, still I will vote Pappu)."
Madhepura stays mum
Unlike other parts of this belt, Madhepura is not ready to open up. "There is no wave. It's confusing," says Surendra Kumar Yadav, a geography teacher. His colleague Rajendra Prasad Yadav, a Maths teacher, says: "The craze for leaders is not what it used to be. Their hold has weakened."
Pramod Kumar Yadav of Anand Vihar has no confusion: "Pappu Yadav ko banaya kaun? Wo Laluji ke saath the to jeet ka itihas banaye. 2,55,000 se jitaye hum log. Lekin who kya kiye Lalu ji ke saath. Pappu apna ijjat kho diye hein. Idhar Modi se mil liye hein. Ab unka vishwas kaun karega (Who made Pappu Yadav what he is? He made history when he was with Lalu.We elected him by a margin of 2,55,000 votes. But what did he do to Lalu! Pappu has lost his honour. On the other hand, he went and met Modi. Who will trust him now?)"
'The vote is not for caste, but for the politics of caste'
Nirbhaya Kumar Yadav, a farmer associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, says he would vote NDA for ideological commitments, but Lalu will get 90% of the votes in other areas. In this beltm that will come down to 75%. "Thoda bahut katega na (Some of his gains will be nutralised by Pappu)".
Vijay Kumar Yadav, a polytechnic student, points out: "Here we (yadavs) are 60% percent. Kitna bhi tutega to jeetne bhar ka Lalu ji ko milega. Muslim vote aur Nitish ka vote to hai hi (However many votes go away, Lalu would secure enough to win. Besides, there are the Muslim votes and Nitish's share)".
People in Madhepura complain that Pappu has chosen wrong candidates. He has also been missing from the area since 2014 election. Local equations, favours, contacts are his strength, but "this election is not about Pappu, its about Bihar and what we want for ourselves," says Shravan Kumar Yadav of Jorjhat village in Singheswar Assembly.
He though may make a dent in Lalu's voteshare, making victories a short-margin game. In the process, his own political future will be decided.
Lalu has spent sufficient time campaigning in the area. There is a clear consolidation among Muslims in his favour. But the Mandal community, which has a good presence, is divided.
The Manjhi factor is weak here, and Mahadalits have floated towards Nitish. Paswans, however, are clear about supporting the NDA.
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