Makhdumpur (Bihar), October 15, 2015: As the chopper of Jitan Ram Manjhi took off from the ground of Zamir Ahsam High School at Dhodha in Makhdumpur constituency after he addressed a public rally on Wednesday, the 55-year-old Mithilesh Singh from the nearby Marsua village was walking back on the edge of the kaccha road along with hundreds others. I was also walking with Singh. After a while, I asked him if Manjhi would win, given the large crowd gathering in the rally. His reply came without the loss of a second, ‘it is not going to be easy for Manjhi.’
Gaya, October 17, 2015: Hundreds of Muslim agarbatti (incense sticks) suppliers of Gaya who produce fragrances in our lives are facing unpleasant odour of slump and closure of their businesses. The policies of Modi government, lack of protection and price-rise are largely responsible for this, they alleged.
As I entered the main settlement of Bathe village, it was not difficult for me to make out the difference between upper caste houses and lower caste’s. While upper castes had big pucca houses and owned huge chunks of land, Dalits and lower caste houses were both kachcha and pucca. Villagers told me that most of Dalits do not own lands but those who possess do not have usually more than 5 katha land.
Makhdumpur (Bihar), October 17, 2015: It was more like a fair than an election rally. Much before the chopper of the former Bihar Chief Minister and President of Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM), Jitan Ram Manjhi, could land at Dr. Zamir Ahsan High School in Dhodha, Makhdumpur, on Wednesday, a large number of Dalit women from nearby villages had gathered there. One such flock of Dalit women was sitting under a tree, some fifty yards from the stage, where Disco Kumar, a Teli by caste, was making and selling jalebis.
Makhdumpur, Gaya October 14, 2015: Days after the name of former minister and senior BJP leader Prem Kumar surfaced for the post of the chief minister in Bihar, Jitan Ram Manjhi has staked his claim.
Addressing a public meeting at Dr. Zamir Ahsan High School, Dhodha in his constituency, Makhdumpur on Wednesday on the last day of campaign for the second phase of polls, Manjhi, former chief minister and the president of HAM, said that though he did not say clearly (spasht) but Modi has indicated (ishaara) about this [the post of chief minister].
At a crossroad of Dharampur, a Muslim-concentrated area of Samastipur, a small crowd surrounded a magician, who called a little boy standing in the crowd to search if there was anything in his cylinder-shaped cap. The boy found nothing but when the magician thrust his right hand inside it, he brought out a green RJD flag.
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.
Notwithstanding the BJP’s claim that its core agenda is development, the issues of caste and beef dominated BJP President Amit Shah’s last rally of the first phase of Bihar Assembly Elections, held on Saturday.