Dacoit Gangs active in the Bundelkhand region have virtually captured local bodies in both districts and are now making a bid to send their family members to Vidhan Sabha.
Kith and kin of dacoits, including Dadua, Thokiya, Radhey, Khadag Singh, Angad, Bhura Kol, Chatwa, Chelwa and Shiv Karan Yadav, holding important positions in the gram panchayats, kshetra panchayats, zila panchayats and town areas. They are virtually running parallel government in both the districts.
Son of Shiv Kumar alias Dadua, Veer Singh, is zila panchayat chairman in Chitrakoot district. Ramabai, wife of Balkumar (brother of Dadua), is gram pradhan from Devkali village. Phoolchand Patel, brother in law of Dadua, is kshetra panchayat member. Another relative Ramesh Patel is zila panchayat member while Janardan Kurmi is member from the Chure Keshrahwa ward.
Satyawati, wife of dacoit Radhey, is gram pradhan of Sheetalpur village. His nephew Kirti Singh is zila panchayat member and brother in law Dev Lal is gram pradhan. Wife of Dev Lal is gram pradhan of Kudki village.Wife of dacoit Khadag Singh is gram pradhan of Madiaon village and more than 20 of his relatives have secured various posts in gram panchayats and zila panchayats.
Three aunts of dacoit Ambika Patel alias Thokiya are office-bearers in gram panchayats. His aunt Sarita is block pramukh of Karbi, another aunt Savita is zila panchayat member while a third, Latwa Devi, is gram pradhan in Chitrakoot district.
Their influence of Thokiya is not confined to UP, it spreads across to the neighbouring Madhya Pradesh. His uncle Dev Sharan is sarpanch of a village located in Satna district.
According to sources around one hundred relatives and sympathisers of Thokiya and Dadua hold various prestigious posts in gram panchayats and town areas in both districts. The kin of dacoits Chelwa, Angad and Bhura Kol, active in the two districts are also members of the gram panchayats.
Family members of the dacoit gangs are now taking a decision on utilisation of development funds. While releasing funds for the construction of roads, bridges, drains and houses, they ensure that share from the fund goes to their mentors Dadua and Thokiya too. Along with money from the kidnapping industry, the share in the development fund is keeping the dacoit gangs well oiled.
Whether contractors or government agencies if anybody is planning to launch development projects in the areas under the influence of Thokiya and Dadua they must ensure that the share of dacoit reaches them first before work begins. "Only after getting green signal from the dacoits can we start work on the project", said a PWD engineer.
After capturing gram panchayats and town areas, dacoits are working hard to send their family members to the Vidhan Sabha. While Dadua is fielding his brother Bal Kumar from Patti Vidhan Sabha seat in Pratapgarh district, Thokiya's mother Piyariya Devi is contesting election from Naraini Vidhan Sabha seat in Banda district.
Another dacoit Umar Kewat is campaigning for his daughter in law Siya Devi from Baberu Vidhan Sabha seat in Banda district. Santosha Devi, daughter of dacoit Nathu Yadav, is contesting election from Baberu Vidhan Sabha seat as an independent candidate.
Though Nathu is in jail, members of his gang are campaigning actively for Santosha. Umar Kewat has also launched campaign in support of Siya Devi. While campaigning the members of his gang raised the slogan 'silai machine ka batan dabao, varna seene par goli khaoo (press your thumb on the sewing machine-Siya's poll symbol-or be shot dead). Another slogan read 'joo na dega Siya ko vote, samjho uki kismat maa khot' ( anyone daring not to vote for Siya is star crossed).
Dadua has already announced support to Samajwadi Party candidates. One of his relatives, RK Patel, is contesting election on an SP ticket from Karbi Vidhan Sabha seat. Residents of villages located in Manikpur assembly segments have been 'directed' to vote for Satyanarayan Kol the SP candidate.