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Locked in Bikramganj battle

Bikramganj (Bihar), Dec 25: Septuagenarian and nearly blind Nathuni Sahu may not see things well, but he can feel it Ś the changes happening around. “You can see me walk briskly down the road which is smooth now,” Sahu said.

The senior citizen, who hails from Morauna village on Arrah-Sasaram road in Bikramganj Lok Sabha constituency adds: “Mujhe lagta hai ki Nitish Kumar road banwa rahe hain (I feel that Nitish Kumar is getting the roads built).”

He is not the only one.

Residents of the remote Surajpura village, 3km from the Bikramganj-Maliabad road were surprised to see their children getting the opportunity to study in classrooms. The school came up in the past year. “Our children would sit under trees in open air classes. But no moreů” stresses Dukhi Prasad.

“The sight of a government hospital with a doctor attending to patients every day is not rare anymore,” he adds.

The sight, which took many across Bihar’s Bikramganj constituency by surprise, was of men and machines on the roads.

The development work being carried out by Nitish Kumar at a feverish pace may have caught attention. But, it has not managed to annihilate the caste equations and social combinations that have been deciding the voting pattern in this Sone-irrigated rice producing constituency in old Sahabad division Ś the bastion of Veer Kuer Singh, hero of 1857 mutiny.

“We will vote on the lantern which is the symbol of Lalu Prasad’s RJD,” said Abdul Ghafar at Jamsona.

Despite heaping his praise on the new governance, old habits seem to die hard. “The Nitish Kumar government got a bridge built on the Thoda river which has helped a lot,” said Gafar.

“But it also gave capital punishment to our leader Akhlaq Ahmad and Laluji is camping at Akhlaq’s home. Laluji is with us in our hours of grief.” Akhlaq and muscleman Anand Mohan have been awarded capital punishment in G. Krishnaiyah murder case.

Thus, the Muslims who have been traditionally voting for the RJD for years now have not shifted their loyalty in favour of Nitish Kumar’s JD(U). “But some of us will repay what Nitish has done for us by voting in favour of Nitish’s candidate,” says Israil Mohammad.

While the voters are talking and measuring the work done by Nitish Kumar and Lalu Prasad for them, the campaigning has gathered momentum in the last leg.

Lalu Prasad with all the central ministers belonging to his party has been travelling throughout the constituency, wooing voters. And Nitish Kumar has drafted almost all his ministerial colleagues and party leaders to roam in the constituency. Bikramganj goes to polls on December 29, while the last date for campaigning is December 27.

And has also become the political capital of Bihar with all leaders belonging to the NDA and the UPA, except Ram Vilas Paswan's LJP, camping here.

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