Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad Yadav may be down but he is not yet out.
Lalu, who was convicted in the fodder scam, will not contest the upcoming Lok Sabha election after the Supreme Court last year barred convicted MPs and MLAs from doing so. At the same time, 13 RJD leaders reportedly left the party on Monday to join Nitish Kumar's Janata Dal United (JD-U) even though on Tuesday, Lalu said nine of the 13 were still with the RJD.
In a Plan B of sorts, Lalu will unleash his family's woman power in the elections. Lalu's wife and former Bihar chief minister Rabri Devi and their daughter Misa Bharti will contest the election even as his sons hold the guard in Bihar.
"Rabri Devi is likely to contest from Chhapra and Misa is likely to contest from Patliputra," a party source told dna on condition of anonymity. Lalu's sons Tejaswi Yadav and Tej Pratap Yadav will not contest but focus on ground duties. "Both of them will have to work locally before they gain enough experience. They will contest the assembly elections in 2015."
Chhapra, located on the Uttar Pradesh-Bihar border, is a strong seat for Lalu, and likely to be an easy win for Rabri, who was state chief minister three times between 1997 and 2005, if she contests from there.
Patliputra, in Patna district, had elected JD (U)'s Ranjan Prasad Yadav in the 2009 polls. Party insiders say the decision to field Misa from there is based on JD(U)'s declining popularity among the constituents there, especially among the urban voters.
38-year old Misa is an MBBS from Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH). Party insiders vouch for her political acumen and state that Misa agrees in private that her father has made mistakes in the past, but is a changed man now. She oversaw the preparations of Lalu's Parivartan rally in Bihar last May.
Misa threw her hat in the ring following a tussle for leadership in RJD after Lalu's conviction last year. While Lalu had been projecting his younger son, cricketer Tejashwi Yadav, top rung RJD leaders declared that Lalu will remain their leader even if he is in jail, thereby foiling Lalu's attempts to thrust his family on to the party. It was then that Misa came forward, saying that she had the first claim on the party's affairs.