The Telegraph
Wednesday , April 2 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Aam aadmi’s local connect

- Activist takes on suave duo

Hazaribagh, April 1: This son of the soil is up in arms against two suave and successful professionals.

If BJP’s Jayant Sinha and Congress nominee Saurabh Narayan Singh can show off their Harvard University and Central University (Australia) degrees, he boasts his knowledge of local plants, people and their problems.

Meet Mithilesh Kumar Dangi, who is contesting the Hazaribagh parliamentary seat on an AAP ticket.

The 48-year-old convener of Azadi Bachao Andolan, an NGO fighting against land grab, shot to limelight in 2004 when he waged a war against mining firms eyeing coal blocks in North Karnpura.

Riding on his “jaan denge par zamin nahi” slogan, Karnpura captured the imagination of the country in the last decade with villagers claiming their rights on coal mines in the area.

Apparently, the movement of the Karnpura valley, comprising Keredari, Barkagaon of Hazaribagh district and Tandwa of Chatra, had prompted the Supreme Court to uphold landowners’ rights on minerals found underground.

A resident of Harli village in Barkagaon, Dangi now seeks to capitalise on the connection he has developed with poor villagers and tribals over the years.

Yahan ki mitti se juda aadmi chahiye, naki videsho mein pada huwa candidate. Tabhi sahi taraha se sare samsya ka nidan hoga (Only one who is connected with the grassroots can solve local issues, instead of those who have studied abroad,” said Dangi, a PhD in Botany from Vinoba Bhave University.

“I was born and brought up here and know the issues concerning the local people better than others,” he added.

Dangi said time had come to design development plans at the village for maximum benefit.

“If I win, I will sit with gram sabhas and ask them to prepare development projects. I will take those plans to Parliament. These plans should be made at villages, and not in Harvard or in an Australian university,” he said.