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Strongmen in action, tension brews

The Munger fight seems to have boiled down to a fierce battle between two bahubalis (strongmen).

Voters apprehend that free and fair polling in the sprawling Tal belt of Mokama under the Munger Lok Sabha constituency in Patna district is something like asking for a moon. Though the district police claimed to have made foolproof security arrangements, fear of bloody war looms large.

Arrayed on the one side of democratic Mahabharat are the dons of Surajbhan Singh. The other is fortified by the Anant Singh group.

Though Anant, the controversial JD(U) MLA from Mokama and known for his muscle power, is not in the fray, he is working overtime to ensure the victory of the sitting MP, Rajeev Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh. Surajbhan’s wife Veena Devi is contesting on the Lok Janshakti Party ticket from the constituency.

The ongoing war of supremacy between the two bahubalis belonging to the dominant Bhumihar caste is an open secret. Surajbhan, a former MP and native of Shankarbar Tola of Mokama town, wields immense clout in the Mokama Tal belt.

Anant, on the other hand, is flexing his muscles to avenge the “defeat” that the family had to bite during the 2000 Assembly elections. Anant’s elder brother Dilip Singh, then considered close to Lalu Prasad, had to bite the dust at the hands of Surajbhan, who was declared elected from Mokama as an Independent.

Initially, Anant of Nadma village under Barh sub-division in Patna rural had no role to play in the ongoing elections. But he suddenly became active and started visiting the Bhumihar-dominated villages both in Mokama and neighbouring Lakhisarai district, seeking votes for the party’s sitting MP, who co-incidentally belongs to the same caste.

“In fact, the fight has reached a crescendo after the emergence of Anant in the electoral arena,” said Sunil Singh, a staunch supporter of the Mokama legislator.

Echoing similar views, Nilesh Kumar Singh, a resident of Moldiyar Tola in Mokama town, said: “Now the strategy is to ensure the defeat of Veena Devi in the fiefdom of her husband, who police records credited with 26 criminal cases ranging across Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Surajbhan, a former MP from Balia, decided to field his wife after he was convicted in a murder case and debarred from contesting the elections.”

Surajbhan is learnt to have amassed immense wealth by bagging railway contracts.

Against this backdrop, the voters and the officials are worried over the unprecedented tension brewing in the area in the past couple of days.

“A section of voters are being intimidated by the goons of a particular bahubali. They are exerting pressure on the people to vote in favour the candidate of their choice. We have already alerted the senior police officers against the sinister designs of the bahubali in question,” Krishna Kumar, a resident of Mokama Tal area, said.

Sensing the trouble as Mokama is considered among the most sensitive Assembly segments in the state, the district authorities have deployed commandoes of the Greyhounds-trained Special Task Force.

“We have also made arrangements to patrol the notorious Tal area by the personnel of the Mounted Military Police force as several villages are still inaccessible by roads,” said Patna senior superintendent of police Manu Maharaaj.

Manu said satellite phones would be provided to the security personnel so that they could communicate with the senior officers at the time of any exigency.

In addition, two notorious gangsters — Ranjeet Sonar and Giridhari Singh — residents of Goshala road and Shankarbar Tola, respectively— have been externed. The name of the two ganglords figured in the list of troublemakers.

“Raids have been launched to arrest the duo, who have been served notices prohibiting their entry within the limits of the sub-divisional town,” Manu told The Telegraph.

Another don Naga Singh is, however, cooling his heels in the Barh sub-divisional jail.

l Munger votes today


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