Madhepura is among 40 seats of Lok Sabha in Bihar and is set to be the battleground for polls with voting scheduled to be on 23rd April. Three Yadav’s, Sharad Yadav, who is contesting on an RJD ticket, sitting MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav of the Jan Adhikar Party-Loktantrik (JAP-L) and Dinesh Chandra Yadav of the JDU belong to the same caste and have locked horn against each other.
There’s a popular saying that “Rome Pope ka aur Madhepura Gope ka” (As Rome is to Pope, Madhepura is to Gope or Yadavs) as Yadav caste alone constitutes 35 per cent of the total population in this north Bihar district. From this seat only Yadav candidates have unfurled the victory flag.
Madhepur is also the hometown of B.P. Mandal, the chairman of the Second Backward Classes Commission. He won from this constituency thrice in a row, from 1967 to 1971. Since then only Yadavs have dominated the electoral tests.
It has six assembly segments namely- Alamnagar, Bihariganj, Madhepura, Sonebarsa, Saharsa and Mahishi out of which JDU has MLA on three seats and RJD on three.
Three Yadav Titans in battle– Lalu Yadav fielded Sharad Yadav on Janata Dal ticket from Madhepura for the first time in the 1991 Lok Sabha polls. Since then, he has been contesting from this seat, winning four times and losing thrice.
In the 2009 Lok Sabha polls Sharad had an easy win over his nearest rival with a victory margin of over 1.70 lakh votes. However, that was possible because both the JDU and the BJP had fought the elections together. Sharad had polled more than 3.70 lakh votes.
In 2014, he lost to the then RJD candidate Pappu Yadav by margin of 56, 209 votes and then JDU and BJP fought apart.
NDA’s pick from the JDU, Dinesh Chandra Yadav hailsfrom Saharsa, is considered the strong leader of the region.
Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav famous for his ‘Robinhood’ image is the sitting MP from Madhepura. In 2014 he won election as RJD candidate but later got expelled from the RJD and floated his own Jana Adhikar Party (JAP). In this election, he tried best to fight on Congress ticket but had to face stiff opposition from Tejashwi Yadav.
Madhepura’s Social Engineering– Madhepura is known as traditional stronghold of socialists. The caste factor has lot to play in this context. In all four assembly constituencies- Madhepura, Sonebarsa, Bihariganj and Alamnagar — Yadavs are followed by extremely backward castes — Kewat and Gorhi.
While the Muslim and Yadav combine result in 43% of votes. RJD is pushing hard on the extremely backward castes beyond it’s MY vote bank. Assembly segments of Sonbarsha, Madhepura and Alamnagar consisting of Muslims, Yadavs and Nishad community are held with high hope by Mahagathbandhan.
This is where Pappu Yadav is trying hard to break RJD’s traditional vote base highlighting issues such as- voterseasy accessibility to him, on development, etc. He is trying to connect with his fellow caste men saying how rivals in RJD hatched conspiracy to end his political career. The sympathy vote may not count much but certainly will hit lantern’s glow.
JDU’s Dinesh Chandra Yadav is confident of upper caste vote of the BJP, the business community and Koeri vote of Kushwaha as Bihariganj assembly segment is Kushwaha dominated region where the sitting MLA is of same caste representing JDU. Moreover Dinesh Chandra is not leaving any stone unturned in deflecting the Yadav vote bank in name of Modi development plank.
Issues for Madhepura– The condition of roads in Madhepura are in shambles. Potholes on highway connecting Saharsa and Madhepura are no less life threatening. It takes minimum 1.5-2 hours to cover distance of 22 kms.
Talking to Newsd, Prof. Suraj Manadal, a renowned academician of Madhepura said- farmers are in rural distress as they do not get the MSP for their harvest, unemployment and education are in sorry state of affairs. For example- condition of B.N.Mandal University is worsening day by day. Roadways with big potholes shows failure of the elected representative.
He further added, in recent shocking revelation, former Chief Minister of Bihar Jitan Ram Manjhi claimed that Rs 650 Crores meant for rehabilitating victims of 2008 devastating flood was not utilized for development purpose.
In short Madhepura’s power battle seems to be a triangular fight but at the end it may turn to be a straight fight between two Yadavs where Sharad Yadav standing firm with his national stature and past experience will face JDU’s Dinesh Chandra banking on his local popularity riding on accomplishments Nitish and Modi.