| LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan and his son Chirag address a gathering in Jamui on Wednesday. Picture by Amit Kumar |
A sea of supporters on Wednesday descended on the district to support Chirag Paswan as he filed his nomination papers for the upcoming polls.
The crowd in support of the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas’s son outnumbered Lalu Prasad’s audience, who had gathered to hear the RJD boss speak.
The Paswans had also organised a public meeting at Sri Krishna Memorial Stadium.
The otherwise sleepy Jamui district headquarters experienced a poll heat of sorts after these political stalwarts had arrived with their supporters. Chirag, accompanied with father Ram Vilas, filed his nomination before the returning officer-cum-district magistrate, Jamui, Shashi Kant Tiwary.
A day after Assembly Speaker and JD(U) candidate from this seat, Uday Narayan Choudhary filed his nomination, the Paswans showed off their strength by arranging a huge crowd in their support. A chaotic situation gripped Jamui town since early Wednesday morning owing to a huge gathering of supporters of Lalu and the Paswans.
However, supporters of the LJP-BJP combine outnumbered the crowd at Bodhban Talab Maidan where the RJD chief addressed a meeting around 11.30am.
Chirag, who stayed at a hotel near Katchari Chowk, took out a big procession around 1pm before filing his nomination. Ram Vilas, Upendra Prasad Kushwaha, Ram Kripal Yadav and others leaders accompanied the junior Paswan on his way to the district magistrate’s (DM’s) office.
However, veteran leader Ram Vilas prevented the crowd from creating a chaotic situation to avoid violating the Election Commission’s model code of conduct. Ram Vilas guided Chirag to the district magistrate’s office. Two other leaders, however, accompanied him to file the nomination.
Apart from party workers, a large number of people from distant places such as Jhajha, Chakai, Sikendara and others turned up. “He (Chirag) is our hero and would change the fate of this constituency,” said Ajay Kumar Yadav, a tea stall owner at Chakai. Ajay and his five friends, all in the age group of 23-25, had come to Jamui to see Chirag.
Talking to The Telegraph, Chirag lambasted the Nitish Kumar-led government for its failure on every front. “Jamui has two influential state ministers, lots of government funds but the administration has failed to address the problems of the people here. The state government has even failed to counter the Maoists, one of the biggest problems of this district,” he alleged.
He added that if the voters gave him a chance, he would certainly give topmost priority to development-related issues. “It’s a challenge for me to fight from here. I am impressed with the people here and I would talk to youths who have been misguided and diverted from mainstream society. The fate of Jamui could be changed by ushering in development,” he said.
Jamui has always been a soft target for Maoists, who usually operate from the neighbouring Jharkhand’s Giridih district. The Jamui hills turned out to be hotbed for the rebels as development eluded the nearby areas. The Maoists simply made an entry to the impoverished villages with cash and guns.
Earlier, Lalu came down heavily on Narendra Modi and Nitish. Terming them agents of communal forces, Lalu called upon the crowd to save the country from these two leaders. He appealed to the voters to be cautious of leaders who have been busy making duping the public with pseudo approaches.