Bihar village sans campaign ahead of polling


Dharmasati Gandaman (Bihar), May 4 (IANS) Even though election fever grips the rest of the country, this village in Bihar's Saran district remains silent as neither any candidate contesting the ongoing Lok Sabha polls nor any political leader has so far visited the village for campaigning.

The residents of Dharmasati Gandaman village are in mourning as 23 children from here died after eating contaminated mid-day meal in a government primary school last year.

No political leader from Maharajganj Lok Sabha constituency has deigned to visit the village, but the about 1,500 electors in the village have decided to exercise their franchise May 7, a villager said.

"We will vote and will not boycott the polls despite genuine grievances," Surendra Rai, a villager said.

Rashtriya Janata Dal nominee and sitting MP Prabhunath Singh is seeking re-election from the constituency. The Bharatiya Janata Party has fielded former minister Janardan Singh Sigriwal while the Janata Party (United) has selected Manoranjan Singh Dhumal to fight for the seat.

Of the main three contestants, two are Rajputs and one is Bhumihar -- and all of them are eyeing support of their own castemen in the constituency.

The mid-day meal tragedy was the result of neglect and failure of the government system, said Akhilanand Mishra, who lost his five-year-old son Ashish in the incident.

"During the last two weeks, many leaders have passed through the nearby roads but no one has cared to visit the village yet. They are afraid to enter the village and face angry villagers," said Raju Shah, father of five-year-old Shiva, another victim of the tragedy.

"We will not boycott the polls but use our right to express our like or dislike in view of the tragedy," said Vinod Mahto, who lost three of his four children in the tragedy.


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