Special Reports

Bihar Elections: Muslim Majority Rosra village may not vote as it still waits for basic facilities

Rosra (Samastipur), October 11, 2015: A day before the first phase of Bihar polls, Gita Devi from Jahangir Puri (North) village of Rosra Assembly seat, Samastipur, is one of many villagers who said that they did not feel enthusiastic about casting their votes on Monday as their problems of drinking water, houses and electricity remain unaddressed.

"I do not feel like voting," said Sita Devi who belongs to Mahto (Koiri) OBC sub-caste in Bihar.

When asked to spell out the reasons why she was unwilling to vote, she said, "I pleaded for a hand-pump but nobody listened to me, " said sari-clad Gita Devi.

Rosra constituency (reserved for SCs) in Samastipur district is one of 49 assembly seats which are going to polls in the first phase of Bihar Assembly Elections on October 12 in which 583 candidates are contesting.

Other demands of Sita Devi that have not been met so far are issuing a BPL card and house under the government housing scheme for the poor. Another problem that has irked Sita Devi is persistent power cut.

Sitting beside her is Gita Devi, whose husband works in Sura. When asked about her name and age, she felt shy. However, she firmly articulated that she may not cast her votes in the elections.

"Whosoever forms a government, no one would provide things at a cheap price. We will just be onlookers while the benefits would be cornered by someone else,’ rued Gita Devi.

When asked if she knew Modi, she replied, "He talks a lot …When a person becomes a king [acquires power], he would not be available for us," fretted Gita Devi.

Perhaps her most sharp comment was this: "When election is at hand, candidates would be seen even in darkness but when election is won, they is not visible even in daylight.’

Like Sita Devi, she said that she could not get house, electricity and even a hand-pump.

A few houses away to the north are located some houses of Muslims. Twenty-five year old Mohammad Akram, who works in Delhi’s Indralok in a garage, also echoed similar sentiment. "I will not vote for anyone as there is no electricity in the village."

Though the electricity supply may not be regular in the village but its bill is handed over to them regularly, rued Akram.

Further, he perceived that since his locality has more Muslims, that is why they are discriminated against. He claimed that in “Hindu”-locality, power supply is regular.

Having narrated his grievances, he finally said that villagers could be made ready for casting votes if power supply is resumed.

"If power supply is resumed, we will vote for anyone you ask," said Mohammad Barkat Ali, a bi-cycle mechanic.

Sitting close to Akram on a cot is wife of Nayeem, Mohammad’s brother, who said that she would also vote anyone if a new transformer was installed in their locality.

Another boy who was standing there suddenly interrupted, "We have 450 votes of Muslims. We will ask them to vote for any party provided, power supply is resumed."

Abhay Kumar is pursuing PhD at Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He may be contacted at debatingissues(a)gmail(.)com

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