Don Anant Singh is still a favourite

Don Anant Singh is still a favourite
“Agar ladkiyon ki izzat bachane ke liye Anant Singh ko dus baar bhi jail jana padega toh jayenge, magar samjhauta nahin karenge (If Anant Singh has to go to jail even ten times to protect the dignity of a woman, he will prefer to be imprisoned, but won’t comprise on safety of girls),” said Neelam Devi, wife of incarcerated MLA from Mokama, Anant Singh, while addressing a public meeting here.

Anant Singh, the controversial leader — better known as don of Mokama — was JD (U) MLA in the outgoing Bihar Assembly.

But after being incarcerated in a murder case recently, Nitish has shown him the door. Anant’s men, however, told Deccan Herald that Chote Sarkar, as the Mokama MLA is fondly called in his constituency, himself resigned from the Janata Dal (United) after he found that Nitish was not ready to protect him during crisis. Anant has now thrown his hat in the ring as an independent after Nitish gave his Man Friday Neeraj Kumar, who is also the JD (U) spokesperson, the party ticket to contest from Mokama.

A vocal leader from the same upper caste Bhumihar community which Anant belongs to, Neeraj has a clean image unlike his rival. Already a member of Legislative Council (MLC), this is Neeraj’s first foray into the Assembly poll from Mokama, which traditionally was a stronghold of the Congress, but became of fiefdom of Janata Dal after 1990.

Anant Singh’s elder brother Dilip Singh was an aide of Congress MLA from Mokama, Shyam Sundar Singh ‘Dheeraj’, who represented the constituency from 1980 to 1990. Locals say that Dilip’s main task was booth grabbing when Dheeraj used to contest from here.

Nursing political ambitions, Dilip turned the tables and contested against his mentor in 1990 as the Janata Dal candidate, and emerged triumphant. Later, Lalu made him a minister in his regime. Mokama was represented by Dilip till 2000 when another muscleman-turned-politician Surajbhan Singh (now in the LJP) contested from here and won.

After Dilip Singh was killed, Anant stepped into his elder brother’s shoes and, since 2005, has been winning from here uninterruptedly.

Though behind bars, Anant, who enjoys the image of Robinhood, has decided to contest as an independent from the constituency, which has been witness to several bloody clashes in the last two decades.

“The battle of Mokama this time will see an end to all the gang-war once I win from here,” Neeraj, the JD (U) nominee, said exuding confidence.

His road to success appeared a bit arduous as apart from his fellow castemen, Dalits too appear to have thrown their weight behind Anant Singh. “Anant will not only get votes from Tal areas (spread over several square kms), but from the town too,” Mangtu Ram, from a Mahadalit tola, told Deccan Herald.

Ram’s views were echoed by Rajesh Rai, who thanked Anant for the electricity connection he has today.

 “Actually, you media people create an image of Dabang (muscleman). The ground reality is, contrary to Anant’s image, Chote Sarkar is quite helpful person and everyone in Mokama believes that he has been implicated by Nitish in a case in which he merely tried to protect the dignity of a local girl and punished the boys,” said Ram Bipin Singh, who runs a dhaba on NH-31 which connects Bihar with Bengal.
“The contest is basically between Neeraj and Anant. The LJP nominee Kanhaiya Singh does not enjoy a good image,” a co-villager, sipping tea at the dhaba, added.

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