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The Times of India
The Times of India
Madan Kumar | TNN

Bihar: Lalu Prasad's brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav may disrupt Tejashwi's plan to wrest Gopalganj seat from BJP

PATNA: RJD president Lalu Prasad’s ‘Saala’ (brother-in-law) Anirudh Prasad Yadav commonly known as Sadhu Yadav may disrupt his ‘bhanja’ (nephew) Tejashwi Prasad Yadav’s game plan to wrest Gopalganj assembly seat from the BJP in the by-election, to be held on November 3.

Former MP Sadhu Yadav, who won the Gopalganj assembly seat in 2000 and the Gopalganj Lok Sabha seat in 2004, both on the RJD symbols, has fielded his wife Indira Yadav (53) as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Gopalganj in the by-election.

“Whatever votes Indira’s will procure; it will cause a direct dent in the traditional Yadav-Muslim votes bank of Lalu’s RJD,” poll analysts say. The RJD has fielded one of the trusted and old workers Mohan Prasad Gupta (58) as its candidate in Gopalganj.

The by-election in Gopalganj was necessitated following the untimely demise of its sitting MLA and former minister Subhash Singh on August 16 this year. The four-time BJP MLA from Gopalganj, Singh was the cooperative minister in the previous NDA government which collapsed on August 9 after CM Nitish Kumar snapped his ties with the BJP. Singh passed away at AIIMS-Delhi, just a week after the collapse of the NDA government. Singh won the seat four consecutive times in October 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2020 assembly polls.

The BJP has fielded Subhash’s widow Kusum Devi (62) as the party expects to cash in on the sympathy wave generated in favour of the four-time MLA who was very popular among his supporters.

Though altogether nine candidates have remained in the fray after the last date for withdrawal of candidatures ended on October 17, the main contest, local peoples claim, is centered around BJP’s Kusum Devi and RJD’s Mohan Gupta.

As the BJP had been winning Gopalganj for the last four elections, the party leaders and the Sangh Parivaar are making their best efforts to retain the seat. Similarly, the RJD, which won Gopalganj a few times before 2005 (October) polls and its leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav has made a well-knit game plan to snatch the prestigious seat from BJP in this by-election.

“The RJD fielded Mohan Gupta, a local Vaishya leader and leading businessman of the district town, as part of its game plan to make a dent in the BJP’s traditional Vaishya (trading community) votes. But the presence of Sadhu’s wife Indira in the fray may upset Tejashwi’s plan as Sadhu while contesting as the BSP candidates from the same seat in 2020 polls had secured 41,039 votes and stood runners up. Though BJP’s Subhash had won the seat by a huge margin of more than 36,000 votes,” poll analysts say.

“If Indira, with support of her husband, secures around 41,000 votes in the by-election, she will disrupt the RJD’s plan of wresting the seat from BJP,” they point out.

However, the RJD’s Gopalganj district president and Hathua MLA Rajesh Kumar Singh Kushwaha, ruled out this argument. He said Sadhu succeeded in procuring around 41,000 votes in 2020 because the RJD was not in the fray and the Congress candidate Asif Ghafoor was not very familiar to the people of the constituency.

Kushwaha said Sadhu Yadav had contested from neighbouring Barauli assembly seat in 2015, but he got only 3,914 votes and the RJD’s Md Nematullah won the seat by bagging more than 61,000 votes. Moreover, Sadhu had contested Gopalganj seat in 2010 but he got only 8,488 votes and BJP’s Subhash won the seat by securing more than 58,000 votes, Kushwaha told TOI on Tuesday.

“This time, the RJD is hoping to get most of the 40,000 votes of the trading community because Mohan Gupta is very popular among his community. This will add up to our votes and we are sure of wresting the seat from the BJP,” Kushwaha said.

“If Sadhu’s wife Indira secures even 20,500 votes, the half of what his husband secured in the 2020 polls, it will be an easy walk for the BJP’s Kusum Devi in this by-election,” an RSS leader who is campaigning in Gopalganj, told TOI on Tuesday.

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