Patna: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) parliamentarian Misa Bharti, who recommended development projects worth more than Rs150 million (Dh7.94 million) for her political constituency, has cancelled all her recommendations after she lost the Lok Sabha elections late last month.
Bharti, who currently is a Rajya Sabha member, had contested elections from the Pataliputra Lok Sabha seat, but lost to her Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rival Ram Kripal Yadav by about 40,000 votes.
According to an official report, Bharti, who is the elder daughter of jailed Indian politician and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, didn’t recommend any scheme for her political constituency in 2016-2017, although a good amount of money was available to her under the ‘MP (member of parliament) Local Area Development Fund’, but this year, she suddenly recommended schemes worth Rs150 million. A parliamentarian is authorised to carry out development work worth Rs50 million in a year, which means he/she will have Rs250 million to spend on development projects during the five-year tenure in parliament.
The recommendations were made just before the Election Commission announced the dates of the seven-phased parliamentary elections. A district planning department official said the recommendations picked up momentum in February and March just ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.
Much to the villagers’ surprise, however, she cancelled all her recommendations for development projects in her constituency after she was defeated in the elections. Officials said the move has cost the office dearly since it involves a large amount of money to conduct surveys and prepare estimates of the projects after the lawmakers recommended development schemes.
“This causes a lot of trouble to the office if someone who has made recommendations for development projects cancels them later. That is because the projects have to pass through various phases before they are finally executed,” a district planning department official said wishing not to be named.
Elaborating further, the official said once the recommendation is made, “We have to do a lot of paper work on conducting survey, preparing estimate, as well as a detailed project report (DPR), which also involves good amount of money. Plus we have to devote time also”. “The cancellation of these recommendations means waste of money and also time,” the official explained.
Reports said Bharti cancelled all these recommendations apparently irked by her defeat at the hands of the BJP candidate Ram Kripal, who has, incidentally, failed to get a place in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi this time.
In the 2014 general elections, too, Bharti had lost to Yadav by roughly the same margin — 40,000 votes — as in 2019. That happened because the Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) candidate had cut into her vote bank and polled 51,623 votes.
Taking a lesson from the past mistake, the RJD entered into an alliance with the CPI-ML this time around. Under this arrangement, the CPI-ML didn’t field a candidate against Bharti. Even then, Bharti lost.