Lalu Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and Sharad Yadav: Bihar misses three top leaders as state goes to polls without titans

Three Titans of Bihar politics - Lalu Prasad, Ram Vilas Paswan and Sharad Yadav - who had been superstar campaigners in the previous elections will be missed during the assembly elections this time around. The three leaders will be absent during the October-November assembly elections due to illness. The three leaders are admitted in different hospitals.

The three leaders were in great demand in previous election campaigns for their respective parties and played decisive roles in the distribution of tickets as well.

While Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan is admitted in ICU in AIIMS, New Delhi, Sharad Yadav is admitted in a private hospital in the national capital.

His daughter Subhashini Raj Rao said Yadav was in critical condition.

LJP president Chirag Paswan, son of party founder Ram Vilas Paswan, also issued a statement on Twitter in a series of tweets and a letter addressed to the party workers informing them that "Papa will be absent from Bihar elections for the first time in the last 50 years". Senior Paswan was first elected to Bihar assembly in 1969.

RJD chief Lalu Prasad, who is serving a jail sentence after his conviction in Fodder Scam case, is admitted in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, Ranchi. His son and leader of opposition Tejaswhi Yadav is likely to meet him on Monday. Lalu was elected to Lok Sabha for the first time in 1977 from Chapra.

Earlier, Subhashini Raj in an emotional letter said the health of her father was very poor for the last few days and thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Health Minister Harshvardhan for inquiring about his health and being concerned over the treatment. She also thanked Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for concern and issuing instructions to the hospital authorities. However, there was no word about RJD leaders.

Yadav had floated Loktantrik Janta Dal after being ousted from the JDU which is an alliance partner of the RJD in Bihar. He was first elected to Lok Sabha from Jabalpur in 1974 and later shifted to Madhepura in Bihar. He was also represented Bihar in Rajya Sabha.

JDU tried to exploit the letter thanking the chief minister with Neeraj Kumar, Information and Public Relations Minister, appreciating Subhashni's comments on Nitish and said Sharad was ignored by the RJD.

Meanwhile, Lalu Prasad, who is getting treatment in the RIIMS prison ward, seems to be most politically active with back to back meetings with various leaders. Lalu will not be able to participate in the election campaign but is playing an active role in the seat-sharing arrangements with alliance partners and selection of RJD candidates. Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren visited him two days back to demand 12 seats for JMM in Bihar elections.

AJSU leader Radhakrishna Kishore and Congress leader Subodh Kant Sahay too called on him in the jail. RJD leaders from different parts of Bihar are going to meet him daily to seek his "blessings", but only few are allowed entry due to jail manual restrictions.

Voting for Bihar assembly elections will be held in three phases on October 28, November 3 and November 7, followed by counting of votes on November 10.

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