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Published in the 1-15 Apr 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Muslim-Yadav turn their back on Lalu

The Milli Gazette Online 

Patna: The MY (Muslim-Yadav) combination in Bihar, on whose support Lalu Prasad Yadav has been ruling over the state, cracked up for the first time in 15 years. The combination became responsible for his electoral debacle at many places as Yadvas and Muslims changed loyalties. The erosion of support in some areas considered to be Lalu’s bastion was evident. In Madhepura, a stronghold of RJD, the RJD’s sitting MLA lost and finished third. Of the district’s five seats, the RJD lost four. In Alam Nagar and Purnea too RJD fared badly, losing both the seats. In Purnea, where Yadavs rallied behind Samajwadi Party, the BJP emerged victorious. In Darbhanga, the RJD lost the Keoti seat because the Yadav’s preferred the BJP’s Yadav candidate to the RJD’s. The RJD candidate Amar Singh lost in Chanpatia in Champaran district for the same reason. In Gopalganj, which is also Lalu’s home district, the RJD candidate lost because Lalu’s sister-in-law contested the polls as an Independent candidate. His friend-turned-foe Pappu Yadav harmed the RJD in the entire Kosi region. In this region the RJD won only one seat out of 14. 

The same tendency was witnessed among Muslims. The JD (U), an ally of the BJP, won in Muslim- dominated areas like Kishangaj. In Jokhikhat, Manzar Alam of JD-U defeated sitting RJD MLA Zarfaraz Alam and JD-U candidate, Monazir Hassan was elected from Munger. Alam, who is the son of Union minister Mohd Taslimuddin, claims to be the sole Muslim leader in Seemanchal region. His defeat underlines Muslims lack of enthusiasm for the RJD this time. In Darbhanga’s Manigachi, RJD failed to retain its seat because Muslims backed Lok Janshakti Party.

Of the state’s total population, Muslims constitute 16.5 per cent and Yadav’s 13 percent and both had voted for Lalu in the last 15 years. Earlier a marginal section of Yadavs had sided against him, but Muslims always remained steadfast. The trouble for Lalu began this time when more and more Yadavs started clamouring for Assembly seats. Ram Vilas Paswan questioned his credentials in protecting the interests of Muslims and it also became a factor behind his defeat.

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