By Manuwant Choudhary
Everytime elections are announced....at least briefly Jungle Raj ends...the Indian government send their troops from our borders to Bihar...
The impact of this on our daily lives, economy and democracy is crippling.
Bihar is under undeclared curfew these weeks.
This is something not reported in the media.
But the checking of vehicles is so drastic that even businessmen cannot go about their activities.
Some say the 12 crore rupees confiscated are not from politicians but from businessmen.
Clearly, politicians spend much much more than that.
With so much checking I decided to check if my papers were in order and discovered that my driving licence had expired in March !
So for the past week I have been commuting on a rickshaw.
The humble rickshaw has its own place in Bihar politics.
Otherwise why would Laloo and Nitish travel on them now and then and offer photo opps !
Ofcourse for VOTES !
Votes of the poor.
So everytime I take a rickshaw I ask them how they are doing, about their lives, where they come from and who they think will win this time.
One said, "I will vote after seeing which way the village votes."
Another, "I will vote after our family has taken the decision together."
Many rickshaw-wallahs have been around for decades..so for some democracy itself has lost its facination...
"Saheb, I have seen so many chief ministers in my 40 years in this city and they are all the same. Not just chief ministers..all our politicians....there was just one politician who could have done something for the poor..he wore only a dhoti....but they killed him...Gandhiji...."
There was an anger in his eye.
Yet, when I alighted he did a namaste with so much respect that one does not see these days.
The paramilitary in Bihar are obtrusive...they tell even women to get off from their cars....
Its like an election under military rule.
You don't see flags atop houses, hardly any campaigning...none door-to-door....
Just large rallies addressed by larger-than-life polticians (who get threatened by even Shatrughan Sinha)...
And yes the hoarding war....
But even that ends in Patna.
As you travel out in the country you will not see a single flag.
And this election is going to drag on for over a month.
Forget the package, let Biharis carry on with their lives ....and Bihar will be better....even in Jungle Raj!