Call it swimming in tricky political waters! Shujalpur BJP MLA Jaswant Singh Hada nearly got himself drowned in the mid stream of Nevaj river on Sunday. He was rescued by two youths who brought him to dry land.
Hada, the sitting MLA from the Shujalpur, had gone to take part at a shraddh in Raipur village. Since the lone bridge connecting the village was washed away in rain, Hada had to cross the river by a country boat. On his return journey, the MLA decided to cross the 200 metres wide river swimming, along with his men. Supposedly, the leaky, creaky boats had put him off.
Hada plunged into the river and swam till mid-stream. At this point his stamina gave away, he felt exhausted and started drowning. Hearing the MLA’s cry, two youths - Samandar Singh and Kanhiyalal - both residents of Raipur village, jumped into the river and managed to tow the exhausted MLA ashore.
“I know swimming very well. While going to the village, I saw the boat leaking and swirling. The river is 25-30 feet deep,” he told HT on his decision to swim.
Hada also wanted to prove that he is one with the villagers who had been facing many hardships, including the loss of an arterial bridge. “Children of the village had not been attending school for the last 12 days. They were asking when they could start attending school. My people have been crossing the river by swimming. After all, I am there to help them out,” he reasoned.
Asked whether he would give a shot at swimming again, an unfazed Hada replied: “Why not? I am not scared. I will do anything for the people of my constituency.”
The lone bridge, connecting Shujalpur with Raipur, which went down 10 days back during heavy rains, doesn’t find mention in government records. As the river swells during rainy season, people from nearby villages are forced to cross the river putting their lives in danger. “One-fourth of the bridge collapsed in the rains and the chief minister two days back had decided to get the bridge repaired,” said the MLA.