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BJP victory silver lining for blast victims

- Hunkar Rally widow faith on PM-designate

Narendra Modi’s clean sweep in the Lok Sabha elections has embedded a sense of optimism among those who lost their loved ones in the BJP’s Hunkar Rally in October last year.

For Binni Kumari, who lost husband Vikas Kumar Singh (28), in the serial blasts in Patna, it’s the “shahadat” (sacrifice) of her life partner that helped Modi win the just-concluded general election with a thumping majority.

Vikas, a diehard supporter of Modi, was killed with six others in a string of explosions that rocked Patna on October 27, 2013.

Five bombs went off one after the other ahead of Modi’s address to a mammoth gathering in the historic Gandhi Maidan, leaving six dead and over 80 injured.

Binni was satisfied when the results of the Lok Sabha polls were declared on May 16. “I noticed smiles on Binni’s face for the first time in the past seven months when the results of the general election were declared and the BJP emerged victorious paving the way for Modi as the country’s Prime Minister,” her father-in-law Meghnath Singh said.

Meghnath, a retired assistant sub-inspector of police, said his bahu (daughter in-law) forgot how to smile ever since the death of Vikas.

“It gave her solace when she came to know that Modi would become the prime minister and preparations were afoot for his coronation on the highest post,” he said, adding that the entire family is hoping that the Prime Minister-designate would keep the promises, which he had made during his visit to their house on November 2, 2013.

Modi had promised to look after the family after becoming the Prime Minister, provide a job to the widow of the deceased party worker and bear the expenses for the education of his two minor children — Shivam Kumar (8) and Shakshi (6). Modi had provided a cheque of Rs 5 lakh to Binni at the time of his visit. This was in addition to Rs 5 lakh provided by the state government as compensation.

The chances of Modi becoming the Prime Minister have given a ray of hope to the family, which lost the only bread-earner in the blast in Patna, around 195km from his village in Kaimur.

Vikas was appointed the statistical assistant on contractual basis at Rampur block office in Kaimur about six months before his premature death. “Mujhe iss baat ka santosh hai ki unki shahadat bekar nahi gayee (It’s a matter of satisfaction that his sacrifice didn’t go waste),” Binni said.

Her father, Binod Singh, a marginal farmer and a native of Manaura in neighbouring Rohtas, said the family would seek an appointment with Modi after he joins the office.

“Two letters were sent to him (Modi), drawing his attention towards the assurances. I am thankful that Rs 8,000 is being credited to my daughter’s bank account monthly to meet the expenses incurred on the education of her two kids,” Singh said.

The money has facilitated the widow to get her son Shubham enrolled in a Ranchi-based residential public school. “The other child Shakshi is studying in Class II at a Chenari-based public school,” the father said, adding that Vikas was the only son of Megnath, who retired from Jharkhand police, a few years ago.

The widow said Modi would also ensure that those involved in the murder of her husband were not let off and were punished severely for the crime. “The killers of my husband should be hanged,” she said.

The family, however, has a grudge against the local BJP leaders, who never bothered to take notice of the widow and her children. “Even during the elections, no leader of the party thought of visiting the family. This showed the insensitivity towards party workers, who sacrificed everything for the sake of the organisation,” Binod Singh said.

Similar views were expressed by relatives of other blast victims, including those of Munna Srivastava (32) and Rajesh Kumar (28), a resident of Ahiapur Musahari village in Nalanda, the home turf of outgoing chief minister Nitish Kumar.

Main to Modiji ke aane ka intezaar kar rahi hoon (I have been waiting for the arrival of Modiji),” said Soma Priya (29), the widow of Srivastava, a native of Mirganj in Gopalganj.

Modi had failed to meet Soma as his chopper couldn’t take off for Gopalganj because of inclement weather. Similar was the case with Rajesh Kumar’s kin.

Three others — Rajnarain Singh (55), a resident of Gaurichak in Patna, Bharat Rajak (59), a native of Supaul, and Bindeshwari Choudhary (55), a resident of Begusarai, were killed in the blast.