Bihar polls: Munger set for interesting battle
Munger (Bihar): The talk in a tea stall in the Yadav-dominated village of Mohli here is all about Prime Minister Narendra Modi's exhortations to 'Yaduvanshis' to dump RJD chief Lalu Prasad for BJP, which has fielded an unprecedented 22 candidates from the dominant backward caste.
"Many boys had voted for lotus (BJP symbol) in the Lok Sabha polls," notes Naresh Yadav, a farmer, probably underlining that it was a vote for Modi even though the BJP- led NDA had put up an LJP candidate, whose symbol is bungalow, in the Lok Sabha elections.
BJP has fielded a young Yadav leader, Pranav Kumar Yadav, in Munger where Muslims and Yadavs are two largest communities. Wary of the saffron party's effort to dent its vote bank, RJD has opted for its local Yadav veteran Vijay Kumar Vijay instead of a Muslim, whom it has traditionally fielded from here.
"Lalu ji ki BJP se ladai hai, hamari nahi (Lalu is fighting against BJP not us," says another person as they talk about the limelight the constituency is basking in after Modi became the first Prime Minister in past several decades to hold a public rally here.
But he quickly adds that the RJD chief is like "family" and even a Nitish Kumar-led government will be very much their own, unlike an NDA formation in which he colourfully describes, "Yadavs may be in the star cast but not a main star".
Aatish Yadav, who is from Sandalpur village and works in a pharma company, claims that the village youths can get more work from a government in which RJD has a say instead of NDA which, he argued, has many big leaders and will be dominated by 'upper castes'.
If BJP expects to chip away at the Lalu's core votes, then it is seats like Munger where it must succeed. But RJD supporters argue that Lalu has succeeded in consolidating them by giving them tickets from a whopping 48 seats out of the 101 his party is contesting.