Rain may play spoilsport in Bihar by-elections

Rain may play spoilsport in Bihar by-elections

Six days from now, Manju Devi, 47, a semi-literate woman, will walk up to the polling booth braving rains and submerged areas to exercise her franchise.

An inspiration for other voters, she says the rain will come and go, “but you don’t get a chance to vote every day”.

In the local dialect, she explains that if she does not venture out to cast her vote, how will the lotus bloom in her area? It's a clear indication of the party she prefers. 

On August 21, Mohiuddinagar will be one of the 10 Assembly constituencies in Bihar where by-elections will be held.

People in this remote area in Samastipur district are in general not happy with the new-found bonhomie between the arch-rivals Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar.

“Nitish is committing one mistake after another. He was wrong when he severed ties with the BJP. He was wrong when he quit as chief minister (as the people had given him a huge mandate in 2010, and not to Jitan Ram Manjhi). And his third big blunder was joining hands with Lalu, who is still perceived as a symbol of jungle raj,” said Ram Pravesh Sahu, a marginal farmer in Mohiuddinagar.   

His only apprehension is that if it continues to rain so heavily even on the day of polling, people from the other bank of the Ganga might not be able to come to vote.

“There are several villages across the Ganga which falls under the Mohiuddinagar Assembly segment. With the river in spate, no boat is plying. I fear that poor turnout on polling day may be a decisive factor and could tilt the balance in anyone’s favour,” said Sahu.

Ram Chandra, a resident of the same village as Sahu,  concurs.

“Many people are quite enthusiastic for the by-poll. But if it continues to rain incessantly, chances are that many of them will remain indoors. In fact, polling personnel too will face huge problems in manning the booths. An election under such circumstances won’t reflect the true mood, where everybody wants to know what picture will emerge after Lalu and Nitish have joined hands. Or will their alliance counter Narendra Modi’s magic?”

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