Where caste rules at dawn and Naxals at dusk

Where caste rules at dawn and Naxals at dusk

 Yet Naxals have so great a sway among locals that no one from the area has dared to mend the palatial house of LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan that the rebels blew up a few years ago.

Yet another contrast is that, despite being a VVIP constituency represented by Paswan’s younger brother Pashupathi Kumar Paras for the last 20 years, the place has not seen much of development.

But Paras, projected to be the next deputy chief minister of Bihar if the RJD-LJP combine comes to power, may still romp home this time, as election here is contested on the caste plank. “Vikas (development) is not an issue here. What matters is caste,” Ghanshyam Yadav, a local trader, says frankly.

“Paras would have lost this poll since he has not done anything for Alauli. But still, he has an edge because of the TINA (there is no alternative) factor. His rivals are no patch on Paras,” Ghanshyam explains.

A village elder Rajesh Kumar Poddar, in his late 70s, throws more light on why Paras will sail through.

“There are two primary reasons. First, he is the younger brother of Paswan, whom people of Alauli treat like a god. A vote for Paras is a vote for Paswan, who gave jobs to several locals in the railways when he was the Union Railway Minister,” he says.

Also, Alauli is almost a home turf for Paswan, as his ancestral house falls in Khagaria district (and Alauli comes under Khagaria Lok Sabha seat), which again gives Paras an edge. “But the most important reason why Paras will sail through is both his rivals—Ram Chandra Sada of JD (U) and Rajesh Sada of Congress—belong to the Mushahar community (the lowest strata among Dalits), while he is a Paswan.

“And nobody wants either Ram Chandra or Rajesh to win, precisely because if they emerge victorious, the Naxals (comprising mostly Mushahars) will feel emboldened and eventually run a parallel government,” says Poddar.