News Column

Paswan's new Modi tactics may not work

May 1, 2014



LJP PRESIDENT Ram Vilas Paswan may be banking on Narendra Modi's development card to make a comeback in Bihar's Hajipur Lok Sabha seat, but the villagers in Sultanpur seem to be unmoved by his claims.

Adopted as a model village by SAIL and inaugurated by Paswan when he was a Union minister, Sultanpur is now a picture of neglect. It thus comes as no surprise that the constituency shares a love- hate relationship with the Dalit leader. While the electors gave him record wins in 1977 and 1989, they had dumped Paswan for JD( U)' s Ram Sundar Das in 2009.

Women claim they have no access to clean drinking water.

The village road may have been patched together, but there is no proper sewage system. Open drains line the streets. "I have a bathroom, but no water in it.

Our children keep on falling in the uncovered drains," says Bhanu Devi. "We've got nothing… No ration card, no coupon, no electricity, no water. We have to drink water from the well," another Sultanpur resident Parvati adds.

After the initial efforts, the establishment turned a blind eye to Paswan's Sultanpur village.

A primary school that had been built here, wears a deserted look. "This school doesn't run… There are no teachers in the village. The whole village needs to take it up with the administration," teenager Santosh says.

Yet, Sultanpur villagers say their votes will go to Paswan since he chose their village for model development.

The reason: the village has a sizeable Paswan population.

' This village has always been with Paswanji. It has nursed Ram Vilas Paswan like a mother nurses a child. There are 10,000 Paswan votes here and they will all go to him," villager Ram Ratna Bhagat says.

In neighbouring Mohabbbatpur, the picture is different as concrete houses, good roads and schools dot the landscape.

This village has a majority population of Yadavs and Kurmis — two vote banks that are being aggressively lured by Lalu Yadav and Nitish Kumar. Known to switch loyalties between the RJD and the JD( U), these voters have ensured that both parties invest in their village.

Elections in Bihar are not so much about development as they are about caste wars. The divide among the kurmis, paswans and yadavs is further fuelled by politicians who have ensured that caste politics becomes an integral part of daily life.


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Source: Mail Today (India)


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