Jharkhand rural Development Minister Enos Ekka spent Rs 75 lakh on partying with his supporters and kinsmen on Wednesday. The occasion was the birthday celebration of his 11-year-old son Vibhav Sandesh Ekka.
The scale of the celebrations has raised eyebrows in the state’s political circles, as Ekka had showed only Rs 72,000 in cash and some landed property in his asset statement at the time of contesting elections.
That was in 2005, and it looks like lady luck has been kind to him ever since.
In Simdega district headquarters, bordering Orrissa and Chhattisgarh and around 160 km from state capital Ranchi, over 200 goats and thousands of chickens were sacrificed in “thanksgiving” to 50,000 of his supporters and kinsmen from around 200 villages.
And, believe it or not, 15 mega pandals were erected and the menu comprised about 50 dishes. Cultural troupes from Kolkata, Jamshedpur, Ranchi and Mumbai were brought in to perform at the town’s main Albert Ekka Stadium.
People started arriving at the place since morning. In fact, the main road of the small district town had a traffic jam and the local police had to be pressed into action to manage law and order.
But why this show of money and muscle? The minister said these people had helped him fight political battles and stay in power.
Ekka is, in fact, one of the ‘Fab Five’ Independent legislators in Jharkhand, who comes in handy whenever there is an opportunity to grab power. He has always managed to stay on the right side of the powers that be — be it Arjun Munda of the BJP or Madhu Koda of the Congress and now Shibu Soren of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.
The minister, however, modestly said the actual expenditure was hard to tell at the moment and that all the arrangements were made by his well-wishers and party workers.