Campaigning for Bihar Elections is in full swing. While elections are proclaimed as a festival of democracy by the politicians for voters it is an occasion to address their grievances. In Samastipur, Bihar, villagers are planning to boycott voting in the assembly elections as the schools and employment situation has not improved.
This is the third time in a row that the public has decided to boycott voting. The voters here boycotted the Lok Sabha 2019 Elections too.
Closure of Bihar’s only Jute mill
Politicians making lofty promises are not a new thing during elections. Who can forget PM Modi’s promise of 2 crore jobs and 15 lakh rupees in every Indian account pre-2014 elections. By 2020, it has been proven to be nothing but a ‘jumla’. But the voters of Samastipur are taking the matter into their own hands but not voting as the politicians have no fulfilled any of their promises.
Rameshwar jute mill at Muktapur, Bihar’s only jute mill was shut down three and a half years ago. It was the source of employment for more than 4,000 workers and farmers in many districts. Despite many calls from the workers and people of the area, the administration has not shown any interest in reviving the mill. All the calls of reopening the mill to mill management have gone to deaf ears. Since the time mill has closed there is neither electricity nor water supply in the worker’s quarters for the last 3 years.
While many are waiting for the mill to start again, the majority have moved to bigger cities for other jobs.
The mill had an annual turnover of Rs. 125 crore and its closure has been a blow to thousands of jute farmers from Purnia, Araria, Kishanganj, Saharsa, Madhepura, and Katihar districts who supplied their produce to the mill. There is anger among the workers for nonpayment of dues and bonuses from 2016-2019. Those who retired haven’t been paid Provident fund and gratuity.
Roads and Schools in Shambles
As the election campaign started so did the villagers cry for “No School, No Vote”. There is a lot of anger among the people for the negligence of high school in the Varisnagar block of Samastipur constituency. Around 1600 voters have decided to boycott elections because the promise of up-gradation of the Moglani chak school has not been fulfilled.
The government spent more than 16 lakh and classrooms were prepared and made ready for inauguration by the chief minister. But before the inauguration, another school was upgraded to high school neglecting the school at Moglani Chak. The villagers have protested against the officials at the education department but to no avail. The villagers have pleaded the matter to Education Minister and after getting tired of all at all levels they have taken the decision of boycotting the voting process in the coming assembly elections.
A consistent problem since 2018 is the poor condition of roads that lead to main cities. Despite many complaints and calls to DM, no improvement has happened. This is the cause of daily frustration for the villagers who in the absence of schools and jobs have to go to cities.
UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath started the campaign for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in election-bound Bihar from yesterday. While he talks of Ram mandir and people are asking for livelihood. It remains to be seen if it is people issues that will take precedence or the politics of polarisation.