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Makhdumpur: Road that cuts through, divides politics of caste

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Makhdumpur: It is just a road which divides the residents of Makhdumpur assembly constituency of Maoist effected Jahanabad district. On one side voters openly favour the BJP-led NDA while on the other side, the support is largely for the grand alliance.

NH-83, which comes from Patna via Masaurhi, goes directly to Gaya through Makhdumpur and runs almost parallel to the railway line. The road that divides came about because of historical settlements.

One side is dominated by Bhumihar, Manjhi and Kushwaha community while the other has a majority of Yadava Koiry, Paswan and Ravidas castes among others.

In Bihar, Makhdumpur is still a study in the caste divide that has been evident for long, despite voting on developmental lines in many places.

NDA has fielded Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) president and former Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi (69), who is also fighting from Imamganj assembly constituency of the adjoining Gaya district.

The grand alliance has fielded RJD’s Subedar Das (50) of Raidas community. A total of 13 candidates are in the fray including six Paswan’s from different political parties and some independents.

Makhdumpur will vote on October 16 in the second phase of the election.

In Indrapuri village, a group of people were playing cards outside a temple wearing white boat-shaped cap of HAM on their heads.

“All the villages of this side are with NDA. In fact we are supporting Modi ji and will vote for Manjhi,” Sachidanand Sharma told IANS.

“Manjhi has done not much work in the area, but when he was the chief minister at least the roads were constructed and power supply conditions improved,” he added.

Others in the group also vow their support to Modi.

“We are still facing problems in irrigation. The Surhanda dam is being constructed since last three years but still not functional. The construction work was initiated by JD-U government when Vijay Chowdhry was the irrigation minister. We would have voted Nitish Kumar but the scenario changed when he joined hands with Lalu Prasad,” says Mahesh Sharma.

“Abri bhar Manjhi ko vote dekar jitana hai (this time we will vote for Manjhi and make him the winner),” he added.

On the other side of the road, Yadavs overwhelmingly support Lalu Yadav.

Subhash Yadav of Lalabigaha, a Yadav dominated village, said: “whatever development has been done is only visible on the other side of the road. We are being neglected. So we will support Laluji.”

His contention is that “It was Lalu ji who gave voice to us. Subedar Das is a poor boy who is working hard in the area since long. Even Paswans of the area will vote for him,” he added.

Yet, in some villages such as Makarpur, Prabhatnagar and Veera people are more circumspect.

“We have not yet decided whom to support in this election. In the last assembly polls, the Koiry’s and Kushwaha’s supported Nitish Kumar. This time there will be division of votes. Let’s see what happens,” Deepak Mahato, who sells vegetables in Makhdumpur Bazar said.

Manjhi has his own supporters too.

“Manjhiji has assured us Indira Awaas, toilets and community centre. Hope when he wins we will be benefited,” Digan Manjhi, Ranjan Manjhi and Pintu Manjhi said in almost overlapping voices at Khalkochak village of 984 Manjhi voters.

Muslims in the area are also in sizeable numbers.

“If Muslims and Yadav’s vote together in favour of Das, and if he succeeds to get even 25 percent of the Koiry votes, Manjhi will be in trouble,” said a local shopkeeper Ramprasad Sah at Makhdumpur Chowk.

“Even Paswan voters are divided as there are six Paswan candidates in the fray including BSP’s Mrityunjay Paswan,” he added.

Manjhi won the last assembly election from Makhdumpur on JD-U ticket by defeating RJD’s Dharmraj Paswan with a margin of 5085 votes. Not really a decisive number.

(Brajendra Nath Singh, IANS)

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Saw AAP MLAs Assaulting Chief Secretary, CM’s Advisor Tells Police

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement

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The AAP had denied the charges of assault and said that the Chief Secretary was making allegations at the behest of the BJP. Wikimedia Commons

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s adviser V. K. Jain on Thursday told police that he saw AAP MLAs Amanatullah Khan and Prakash Jarwal “physically assaulting” Chief Secretary Anshu Prakash, according to Jain’s statement recorded by the Delhi Police.

The AAP defended by stating that Jain had initially told police that he did not witness any assault and police has threatened Jain to change his statement.

On Tuesday, the Chief Secretary had alleged that he was beaten up by the two AAP MLAs in the presence of Kejriwal at the Chief Minister’s residence on Monday night, where he had been called for an emergency meeting.

ALSO READ: The assault on Chief Secretary exposes the double standards of AAP government

Police later arrested Khan and Jarwal and they were sent to judicial custody till Thursday.

According to the Chief Secretary, the Chief Minister’s adviser had called him over the phone and asked him to come to the Chief Minister’s residence for the meeting and Jain was also present there.

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According to the statement, Jain also saw that the Chief Secretary’s spectacles had fallen to the ground and the Chief Secretary picked them up and left the room. Wikimedia Commons

On Thursday, the Delhi Police submitted Jain’s statement at a city court, which said that Jain had gone to the washroom during the meeting and as he came out he saw the two AAP MLAs “physically assaulting” the Chief Secretary.

The statement was recorded under Section 161 of the CrPC, which means that it was recorded in front of the police and not a magistrate.

Sources told IANS that Jain later recorded his statement in front of a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC.

“The statement under section 164 was later recorded with the magistrate in front a camera, without the presence of police. In that statement also he (Jain) has said that he saw the two MLAs physically assaulting the Chief Secretary,” a police officer privy to the case told IANS.

The officer said that the statement under section 164 has also been submitted to the court.

Jain was first questioned on Wednesday morning and then again on Thursday and his statement was recorded on Thursday.

The change in Jain’s statement that the AAP was referring to was from a “question and answer” with Jain recorded by police after questioning him on Wednesday.

According to a copy of Wednesday’s “question and answer” recorded by police, when asked whether Jain saw the Chief Secretary being manhandled, he replied that he had gone to the washroom in between the meeting and he could not say what happened during that time.

“By putting pressure on him (Jain) throughout the day (Thursday) and by threatening him, police has forced him to change his statement,” AAP MP Sanjay Singh told the media here on Thursday.

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Singh said that the whole issue was a conspiracy to “bring down the Delhi government” and to “defame the AAP”. Wikimedia Commons

 

“How is it that the same Jain who emphatically said yesterday that he witnessed no assault during the entire time that he was present there has now claimed otherwise?” he asked.

Singh said that AAP MLAs were being arrested over an alleged assault of which there was no proof.

“But on the other hand, despite there being video footage of officials assaulting Delhi Cabinet Minister Imran Hussain, there is no action taken against the guilty by the Delhi Police,” the AAP MP said.

The court on Thursday sent the two AAP MLAs, arrested on charges of assaulting the Chief Secretary, to judicial custody for 14 days.

ALSO READ: Delhi Chief Secretary row: AAP MLA arrested

Orders on the bail pleas of the two AAP MLAs and also on their police custody will be pronounced on Friday.

Meanwhile, scores of Delhi government employees across the city observed a five-minute silence outside their respective offices as a protest against the alleged assault on the Chief Secretary.

The IAS Association said that officers would continue the protest every day, till steps are taken to “ensure safety and dignity” of government staff in the city.

The AAP also hit out at Lt Governor Anil Baijal by stating that he was “working as a BJP agent” and demanded action against those involved in “manhandling and beating up” Hussain and his aide at the Delhi Secretariat on Tuesday. (IANS)