Kaam Ki Baat: Pappu Yadav’s journey from Bihar to Tihar, and now Election ka Prachaar

Ankit Kumar
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pappu yadav

Does Pappu Yadav’s JAP has any chance of becoming a force in upcoming Bihar elections 2020


Just ahead of the Bihar elections, we have started to do “Kaam Ki Baat” on Bihar elections. Last Wednesday, we had talked about the core issues in Bihar, and today we will look at one of the main leaders of Bihar, whom not many people have covered. We will talk about the Pappu Yadav aka Rajesh Ranjan, the head of Jan Adhikar Party and former Madhepura MP.

Pappu Yadav’s current scenario

Ranjan is mostly known by his pet name Pappu Yadav. His party JAP has forged an alliance, called Progressive Democratic Alliance with Azad Samaj Party, headed by Chandrasekhar Azad, and declared Pappu as the CM candidate. The alliance was announced just a few days after Upendra Kushwaha’s RLSP forged an alliance with Asadauddin Owaisi’s AIMIM, Mayawati’s BSP and two other smaller parties.

Pappu Yadav has become a very familiar name in the last few years for his social work during the crisis. But his identity has limitations. Political experts say that he never grew as the face of Yadav’s in whole Bihar because of the presence of Lalu Prasad Yadav. People know him as an accused of Ajit Sarkar’s murder, which he was acquitted by the court. Some political pundits say that his influence is limited to Kosi region of Saharsa, Supaul, Madhepura and the adjoining Seemanchal belt of Purnea.

Rajesh Ranjan has been seen on the ground on several occasions. He distributed food packets during the Bihar floods last year when other leaders were accused of not being in the action.

Political pundits say that even the ambition of stopping migration out of Bihar won’t prove enough for Pappu Yadav to become the Chief Minister of Bihar. JAP is not expected to achieve much apart from eating into votes of some parties, especially the Tejasvi’s Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Read more: Kaam Ki Baat: What are the key issues in Bihar elections

Political journey of Pappu Yadav

Pappu Yadav has his roots in Bharko, Banka. His grandfather shifted to Kumarkhand, Madhepura, where he was born. His grandfather used to call him Pappu – a name that would stick and become bigger than his original name as he cultivated his image as the maverick. He graduated in political science, did diploma in ‘human rights’ and, diploma in disaster management.

He won the Assembly seat of Madhepura as an independent candidate after Janta Dal didn’t give him a ticket in 1990. After the elections, he supported Lalu Prasad Yadav, who formed the government in Bihar for the first time. The two Yadav leaders had a fall out later. Pappu Yadav has said it in the public domain that Lalu didn’t like his visit to the massacre site in Naugachia (Bhagalpur) in 1990 and told him not to emerge as the Yadav’s leader in the state. In 1991, Pappu Yadav won Lok Sabha seat from Purnea constituency but the election was countermanded after allegations of poll rigging surfaced.

Later, Pappu Yadav was picked by Madhepura candidate with Sharad Yadav as his political manager. He helped Sharad Yadav in defeating the influential Rajput leader Anand Mohan. Later both the Yadavs came into conflict over regional supremacy and leadership of the community.

In 1993, Pappu formed Bihar Vikas Party, which later merged with then Mulayam Singh-led Samajwadi Party and won 2 Vidhan Sabha seats in the election. Later, as the RJD leader, he won three times from Madhepura.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he defeated Sharad Yadav from Madhepura seat. But in the 2019 elections, he trailed behind him in the third position. Last year his wife Ranjeet Ranjan also lost from Supaul contesting on Congress ticket.

The love story of Pappu Yadav and Ranjeet Ranjan is very well-known in Bihar. Pappu fell in love with Ranjeet after seeing her play lawn tennis in Patna. Soon both got married and now the couple has two children, Sathak Ranjan and Prakriti Ranjan. Their son is in the Delhi’s 20-20 cricket team.

Pappu Yadav’s frame gives the impression of him being a food lover. He actually is a food lover. He doesn’t miss a chance to have breakfast at Gloria Jean’s or Bhaji and Chura when he is at home. The food was sent to him in the barracks from his bungalow while he was in jail.

What people have said about Pappu Yadav

Sunetra Choudhary in his book Behind Bars, has dedicated a chapter to Pappu Yadav in which she has talked to and about him. Pappy Yadav has spent more than 4 years in Tihar Jail, in connection with the murder of CPI-M leader Ajit Sarkar, who was murdered in Purnia in 1998. The JAP leader was acquitted by the Patna High Court in 2013.

Before Tihar, he was in several Bihar prisons. Sunetra wrote that Pappu was moved from Bhagalpur, Beur, Buxar, Bankipur, Hazaribagh constantly to not make him comfortable, while he was in jail. When someone spends a good time in the jail, they make contacts with other inmates and officials to set up a system of comfort.

Yadav revealed in the book that prisoners were able to ‘buy’ better jail at a certain price. He also talked about physical abuse in Tihar Jail saying he was beaten up several times by the jail officials in his cell on many occasions leaving him bruised for days.

He told Sunetra that he had to pay for his food in jail and powerful criminals used to rule the prisoners and extort money from them to bribe the officials. Despite many security layers, inmates are able to use cell phones and even satellite phones used by top officials. He added that people who were not able to pay for food, used to sell their bodies to get food. He said, “Desperation for good food can make you do anything.”

While he was serving his jail term for the murder of Ajit Sarkar, the Supreme Court found that he had spent 450 days in the hospital, while he was imprisoned. Hospitalization is a gateway for inmates to meet anyone they can, eat food from outside.

In the weekly political show of Lallantop, Neta Nagri, Rajdeep Sardesai called Pappu Yadav a Robin Hood which didn’t please the show host Saurabh Dwivedi. He countered saying that his past crimes and “Bahubali” image don’t make him a messiah, no matter how much help he helps the poor. Looting is not at all justified.

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