Prez poll: Despite ominous signs, Meira’s village remains hopeful of victory
Drop by Chandawa, and you will find people anxiously discussing Meira Kumar’s chances in the presidential polls. Most television and radio sets have been switched on, and any piece of information they disclose is relayed rapidly across the village.patna Updated: Jul 16, 2017 19:12 IST
Though the residents of Chandawa know that the electoral arithmetic is in favour of National Democratic Alliance (NDA) presidential candidate Ram Nath Kovind, they clutch on to the hope that Congress pick Meira Kumar will emerge victorious.
And why wouldn’t they, considering that a “daughter” of their village now has a shot at becoming the first citizen of India?
Drop by Chandawa, about 55 km west of Patna, and you will find people anxiously discussing Kumar’s chances in the presidential polls. Most television and radio sets have been switched on, and any piece of information they disclose is relayed rapidly across the village.
But silence reigns at the house of Suraj Ram, a relative of Kumar.
“We aren’t scanning television channels for information here,” says 28-year-old Shveta Rani, one of the two college-going members of the household. “We know the NDA candidate is ahead in numbers, but we have faith in our grandmother (Kumar). She has a spotless record, and her conviction for uplifting the downtrodden is unparalleled.”
Shveta and 26-year-old Seema Prakash have been praying day and night for Kumar’s victory before their Kuldevata (family deity).
Though three others of the family – Ravi Kumar (35), Satyendra Kumar (28) and Surya Prakash (32) – are not as optimistic, that does not prevent them from feeling proud of the presidential candidate. “Our family symbolises the strength of Indian democracy. Who would have thought that somebody from a downtrodden family, like our great grandfather Jagajiwan Ram, could climb such improbable heights in his life? That goes for Meiraji too,” says Ravi.
Meanwhile, an outhouse belonging to Prakash Tiwary – a resident of the village – is a picture of revelry. People can be seen sipping tea and chewing paan, enjoying every bit of the attention being showered upon the village by the media. “Meiraji is not just Jagajiwan Ram’s daughter, she is our sister too. She is fighting for democratic values and morals that should prevail over mere vote politics. She has always been a winner,” says 22-year-old Shrikant Tiwary.
Devi Dayal Ram, a 45-year-old school teacher, doesn’t even want to hear about the numbers game. “Even when the NDA is forced to choose a Dalit, it puts up a puppet. Really, can you even compare Meiraji and Kovind?” he asks.
Prabhawat Devi, who was milking her goat when we chanced upon her, had a different take on the matter. “Women from all the parties will vote for Meiraji because she is a woman,” the 35-year-old said.