Ye sirf meri beti nahi, ye aandolan ki beti hai. (She is not only my daughter, she is the daughter of a movement as well.) This is how Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad introduces his daughter, Misa Bharti, to voters in the Patliputra constituency from where Bharti is contesting.
For Lalu, it's extremely important that both Misa and his wife, Rabri Devi, win, as only this would ensure the party's survival given the uncertain future he faces due to the cases pertaining to fodder scam.
A close aide of Lalu told dna on the sidelines of the campaign in Bihta area: "This is just the beginning. He will campaign with the same fervour for his wife in Saran after the elections are over in Patliputra constituency." Patliputra goes to polls on April 17.
Lalu is leaving no stone unturned in boosting the chances of Misa. In the last three days, he has undertaken three roadshows—Bihta-Patna (30km), Maner-Patna (45 km) and Swarmarwa-Patna (45 km)—campaigning for Misa. The third was on Saturday.
Interestingly, these are the only three roadshows undertaken by Lalu so far in the 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign. Sources say his main focus is on Maner, Bihta and Danapur, the Yadav-dominated areas.
Of the hundred meetings held by Lalu in both Bihar and Jharkhad, 20 have been in Patliputra.
By aggressively campaigning in these areas, Lalu is trying to ensure that the Yadavs remain with RJD and do not drift towards his former close aide, Ram Kripal Yadav, who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Patliputra.
Ram Kripal Yadav, a major leader in the community, severed his four-decade-old association with Lalu when the latter gave the Patliputra ticket to Misa instead of him. He joined the BJP only last month.
As part of his electoral strategy, Lalu is invoking both the past as well as the future to impress the voters. Pointing to her daughter, he says, "Your daughter will reply to people like Sushma Swaraj and Uma Bharti in Parliament if you send her to the Lok Sabha." He also, in the same breath, reminds the voters that she was born during the Emergency when he was jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA). This had prompted him to name her Misa.
Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan had also powered his entire ammo in a similar fashion to ensure victory for his son, Chirag Paswan, who contested from Jamui, where the election was held on April 10. Ram Vilas Paswan had also taken personal charge of Chirag's campaign and had deployed senior party leaders, including his brother Pahupati Paras, and leader Suraj Bhan Singh to oversee the campaign.