Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar’s ancestral village, Kalyan Bigha in Nalanda district, is equipped with extensive facilities like referral hospital, shooting range, outdoor stadium, park etc., but the struggle for Mahadalits is no less pronounced than any other part of the state. Kalyan Bigha is located in Harnaut Assembly constituency.
The Harijan Tola existing at one side of the model village, consisting of a number of mud-thatched houses on both sides of a narrow lane, mark a clear distinction amidst localities of others well off social groups.
70 years old Gangu Manjhi, a resident of one of the small mud houses showing the interiors of his hut said, “You can see how we are living. There is no development for us, we are still waiting for the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY-G) and living in this dilapidated hut, we didn’t get any government benefits expect rations that too is not sufficient in quantity.”
Nearby, in another such accommodation an old age couple Darogi Manjhi and Phulwa Devi took turns to describe their hardship. Darogi said that he is not in best of the health to earn sufficient money for his family therefore he is badly in need of some government scheme to help him.
“We are struggling to get ourselves properly fed. We have to take care of our daughter as well. What is the benefit of development when our life doesn’t change? Are we not part of the village?” Phulwa Devi asked.
Their young neighbour Anuj Manjhi and his wife Saraswati Devi out rightly deny benefiting from any government scheme, even the very basic ration. They work as landless labourers as most of the residents of this hamlet work in the farm owned by Kurmis, the caste CM Nitish Kumar belongs to.
TheNewsweb found small children of the labourers carrying loads on their head assisting seniors in the field.
However, there are residents of the same Harijan Tola like Umesh Paswan, a government teacher who is a direct beneficiary of the developmental work taking place in the village and its vicinity. Such people are giving full credit to Nitish for what they called ‘the complete turnaround of the village’.
It’s a different matter that the conditions of Mahadalit hamlet have little bearing on the election results of Harnaut as the vote bank of Nitish Kumar appears intact. Except, Paswan, a vocal Mahadalit caste having sizeable population in the Nalanda district are not keen to vote for JD (U) even in Harnaut.
Though there appeared some discontentment among villagers about the sitting MLA, Harinarayan Singh who is once again in the fray, yet many of residents maintained that they will vote for Singh in the name of Nitish Kumar. However, there are others who are not revealing their cards. Crucially, this lot appears not very pleased with even Nitish Kumar.
Kalyan Bigha’s fortune change years after Nitish Kumar became chief minister of Bihar as his family shifted to Bakhtiyarpur in Patna district long back, all attention was focused to this town ship. Kalyan Bigha is situated 5 KM off on Patna-Ranchi highway.
(Shams Khan is contributing editor at the TheNewsweb)