"Woh itne powerful hain ki Laluwo unse darta hai….."


At sixty he could not retire Westwards…for, he made us the Orient….
He is sixty-something but not sexagenarian. Rising from UDC to Secretary he is retired but very much active in service. Simple yet dashing; unarmed yet sends shivers to Bihar bahubalis. He neither bites, nor barks. Mobile is the only weapon he carries. He comes from nowhere, vanishes in mid-air. Always alert, always agile he lands at the most difficult, hostile terrain of the badland. Unannounced, unscheduled. Swings like Superman, moves like Phantom. Talks smooth, acts tough. Accessible everytime, eachtime. Sometimes rides a pillion on a bike, while at other looks heli-hopping in the sky. He carries confidence, wields virtues and believes in action. For him, duty only delivers his deed. He is not from Bihar but behaves Bihar.
"Dekhe to nahin hain leking sune hain ki woh itne powerful hain ki Laluwo unse darta hai [though I've not seen him but heard that even Lalu fears him]", said the hordes of migrant labourers on way to their villages in Sharasha, Katihar and Madhubani at Patna Junction. They're on their annual religious vacation of Chhath Puja coinciding with the chunav [poll] this time. They've helped making Delhi, Punjab, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Mumbai and now Gurgaon a new modern look on the country's map. They' ve built roads in Ladakh, high-ways on Delhi-Jaipur section, Golden Quadrilateral criss-crossing the country as well as impressive flyovers, imposing buildings and state-of-the-art Shopping Malls everywhere. But, visit their homeland in Bihar only once in a year.
For them, RJD boss Lalu Prasad is the most powerful man in the world--- Rashtrapati se bhi--- who can do everything, get everything and get away with everything. He can eat fodder, go to jail and even then rule the state as his fiefdom. If circumstances fail he can saddle his illiterate wife to the power-seat while clutching the reins into his hands. Earlier, they never ever had bothered to cast their vote as the powerful man took care of it all in their name. Social justice, social equality as you know, say they throwing wry smile on their dry date-like face.
However, things are different for them this time. They've heard it, read it and listened through sleek silver colour Chinese radio set or the B/W TV. Even people like them are exercising their right of franchise, no one dares come to them with guns on their shoulders and expletives on lips to intimidate them, no official, not even Daroga babu dare to prevent them from reaching the polling booth. They can also make a queue to cast their vote. No staring eyes, no fear of post-poll bloodbath.
"We know it all has become possible because of only one person, Rao saheb who has come Dilli to make it happen", says Horlicks Yadav of Saharsha. Horlicks works in a factory in a metal factory in Jalandhar for the last seven years. For him, this time the homecoming has come with a double bonanza--- celebration of Chhath Puja with casting of vote. But whom he will vote? "Abhi kyon bata dein? Waise Bihar mein bhi Vikas hona chahiye, Punjab aur Dilli [where his brother works] ki tarah", says he.
Everyday thousands of migrant labourers and Non-resident Biharis are coming to the state on the occasion of major festivals like Eid and Chhath coinciding with poll. And, most of them have heard about Rao sahib. "Kamal kar diye hain Rao saheb. Lalu ki bhi sitti-pitti gum ho gayee hai is baar. Bahubalis to bil mein ghus gaye hain. Kya kisine aisa socha tha kabhi ki Bihar mein election ho aur koi mare nahin [Rao sahib has worked wonder. Even Lalu has become maimed. The criminals and heavy-weights have gone underground. Had anyone though that there would be no killing in Bihar poll]", asked R N Sinha, a retd. bureaucrat, now living with his MNC working son in Delhi. Sinha heads straight to his village in Chhapra excited about poll on November 19, at the last phase.
"I'll stay there till the poll date to cast my vote. This time there would be a real poll and everyone should participate in it", says Sinha, During the February poll Sinha was chased away by the goons of a particular party which has been lording over the state for the last 15-years. "But, see the difference this time. I've heard that all of them have gone underground as their masters have been arrested or forced to surrender. Just one man has made the difference", exulted Mr Sinha while renting a car for his next destination.
But hasn't Rao been crticised by some political masters for his acclaimed actions? "So what, only those are throwing brickbats and making strident criticism whose wings have been clipped and whose manipulation and machinations of poll management has been exposed", says a Patna based doctor whose kidnapping for ransom had created furore in the state a year back. The doctor now has settled somewhere near Delhi. But will he come back if there would a change of government this time? "Why not? Who doesn't want to come to his roots? But make Mr Rao, Governor of this state", said he.
Kudos or criticism, bouquets or brickbats Rao has come as a real messiah for the millions and millions of people living inside or outside the state. Only half of the task has been done, part-II still to go. But the man of moment is ready to take the bull by the horns--- unfazed, undaunted, unruffled. Projecting him as a cowboy with hands in pocket, smoking cigars, revolvers dangling from the waist and criminals trampled underfoot would be a mean exaggeration to a man who already has acquired larger an image than his shadows.
He must be K J Rao--- making boundaries, creating history, behaving Bihar.
For the record
1990 assembly poll: 86 killed
1995 assembly poll: 54 killed
1999 Lok Sabha polls: 74 killed
2000 assembly polls: 61 killed
2001 civic polls: 158 killed
2004 Lok Sabha polls: 20 killed
2005 [Feb.] assembly poll: 22 killed
2005 [OCT-NOV] assembly poll, till part-II : only 2 killed [1, by accident]



The article we expected from Mr. Tewari

I am surprised to see the working style of Mr. Rao. He is really doing excellent in his job. More of that I am happy to see that majority of our (Bihar) people are appreciating his work. It gives me strong belief that India/Bihar is in the path of improvement for our next generation.

Kumar Nawin

Amarnath Tewary
Patna based special correspondent of The Pioneer