There are two assembly seats in Lakhisarai district that are Lakhisarai and Suryagarh. On 28th October, voting will occur for both the seats, and the contest will be directly between BJP-led NDA and the RJD-led coalition.
In these regions, voters are divided based on caste and it is clearly evident. It also shows that the caste of the leader is more important than development for the people of this region.
Candidates contesting in the region
For BJP, Vijay Kumar Sinha, Labor Resource Minister, will contest the election. He has won the seat for two consecutive terms. Congress has named Amresh Kumar for the seat. Kumar was a JDU leader who shifted to Congress some time back. JDU is fielding Ramanand Mandal, and RJD is fielding MLA Prahlad Yadav from Suryagarh.
75 to 80 percent of Yadav votes may go to Lantern (RJD)
Bilouri Panchayat of Lakhisarai Legislative Assemble seat is adjacent to the district headquarters. Bilouri, Ophhapur, Karauta, and Pachaita come under this panchayat. It is a Yadav-dominated panchayat with voters from Muslim, Kurmi and Mahadalit sections as well. According to the local people, the area has around 10,000 voters and around 50 percent come out to vote. This time, they are expecting to have a better turnout as people have returned home amid the Covid-19 lockdown.
The condition of the road connecting Lakhsarai and Bilouri is not good. There is a pond near the entrance of the village spread over six bighas. There is no encroachment on the land surrounding the pond, which is rare. The ghats on the pond are developed under a government scheme. There is a shed constructed on one side of the pond by local MLA Vijay Sharma using his MLA fund. It is the usual place of gathering for people to play cards in the afternoon. On one side of the pond, there is a temple and a government hospital. On the other side, there are two schools. The canal passed through the village. There is electricity in the village, and water has reached the village under ‘Har Ghar Nal Jal Yojana.’ However, people are talking about a change in power in the region.
Ram Charitra Yadav said, “We are dependent on farming and animal husbandry. Some men go to Punjab and Haryana to earn livelihood. There is no work of government in our village. You can see the condition of the road. Power cuts are normal in the region.”
Bihari Yadav said, “The hospital building is there but it is empty as there are no facilities.”
Kanchan Kumar said, “Nitish Kumar talks about uninterrupted power supply. My village does not get power even for 6 hours. We gave several applications to the Minister (Vijay Kumar Sinha) but no one pays heed to our voice. The Minister does not care as this is a backward village.”
JP Yadav said,”Some people have got Indira housing and Toilets. The work related to tap water is 50 percent done. Rest of the money allotted for the area was embezzled.” According to him, “Lalu Yadav is a ‘Maharathi’. The lantern gets vote. He is rotting in Jail because of Modiya (PM Narendra Modi). Lalu and Jagannath Mishra have similar cases against them. While Mishra was released, Yadav was punished. We are with Lalu Prasad. “
Brahmdev Yadav was also angry with the government. He said, “The rail is closed for eight months. Corona lockdown is intentional. Modi government thinks that the public is stupid. Every voter is going to vote for Tejashwi Yadav.”
Rajkumar Yadav, former RJD Block President, said, “The village head got the government work done in this area. MP-MLA has not done any work. All the votes in this region will go to the grand alliance. Most of the voters will opt for the alliance.
Harihar Yadav claimed, “75 to 80 percent Yadav votes are with Latern.”
‘Prahlad Yadav will win because he is Lalu’s man.’
Khairi village of Mahisona panchayat of Suryagarh is also Yadav dominated and adjacent to the district headquarters. According to the villagers, there are about 1500 voters. Around 1000 are from the Yadav community. They are clearly favoring the RJD candidate. Everyone has their own reason to support RJD.
Vikar Kumar said, “Leaders do not pay heed to the region. But Prahlad Yadav is Lalu’s man so he will win.” Ramji Yadav said, “We were heard under Lalu’s regime. If someone goes to the office for the some work, the officer would do the work. Under Nitish’s rule bureaucracy is more powerful. Now if someone goes to a leader’s office, he gets trapped.”
Ramji also dismissed claims of progress in the area and said, “There was a road before as well but it was not properly built. Lalu laid down the foundation of the road structure and Nitish Kumar just completed it. Today, the road is two-lane. In future is someone makes it a four-lane, it will be called development. Main structure was possible because of Lalu Yadav.”
Ramashray Yadav Said, “Toilets are beneficiary but bribery is an issue. To get housing under Indira scheme one has to pay Rs.30,000. Tap water work is still pending by 50 percent. Water supply started only four months ago. Everyone knows that people will vote for lantern here so they stopped the work.”
Manu Yadav, a tea shop owner, said, “There is a government school but there are no teachers. We have four children and all of them study in a private school. No one takes care of the government school.” He further added, “There is hospital next to the school but there are no doctors. People have to go to a private hospital. Government hospital is standing only as a building with zero facilities.”
Ban on sand mining and its effects on the region
People have resentment over the closure of sand excavation from the Kiul river. Ramji Yadav said, “It is the main problem. Sand site is closed. This government has created a mess for the region. Previous government was better.” Due to the ban on sand excavation, other businesses like trucks, tractors, pick-up vans, etc. got affected. Workers are not getting work in the region. Migration has increased in recent times. Pravesh Mahato of Tetarhat said, “A lot of work has been done but the ban on sand mining has affected people greatly.”
Several concerns affecting the mindset of the voters
There are several factors that are affecting the voters. The strengthening of the Mai (Muslim and Yadav) equation does not mean that everything will depend on it. The core RJD voters are not happy with the Congress getting the Lakhisarai seat. In 2005, Fulaina Singh, who defeated Vijay Kumar Sinha from this seat on the RJD ticket, favors NDA. The rebels of BJP and JDU are also in the field.
Similarly, Ravi Shankar Singh, alias Ashok Singh, contests the LJP ticket in Suryagarh that causes trouble for JDU. Ravishankar Singh, who changed party after not getting access, is known to be close to local MP and Nitish Kumar. It is also notable that Prahlad Yadav, who won the 1995 election as an independent, won the seat in 2000 and 2005 elections for RJD. He after that, he faced defeat twice. The last time he won the election was because of JDU support to RJD.
This is the reason when Nitish Kumar held a meeting in Suryagarh on 15th October, he called his relationship with the region and reminded the people of Jungle Raj. He said, “I have had association with Suryagarh and Lakhisarai since the time of formation Samata party. I believe in work. I have worked since 2005. Eliminated Jungle Raj. Bihar has progressed. For 15 years, husband and wife ruled the region but they did not work for the welfare of the people. Earlier, people did not leave their house in the evening but now they can roam freely.”
However, the future of these two seats is hidden in the opinion of Praveen Kumar Yadav of Bilouri, who completed his graduation last year. He said, “Everyone feels that this time there should be change. But this is not going to harm BJP. If BJP had fought separately without Nitish Kumar, it would have been more beneficial for them.”