Use of animals in any electoral process is banned. The Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) candidate from Jharkhand’s Dhanbad constituency realised it late.
Having brought two trained pachyderms from his native village, Balia for campaigning on Tuesday evening, Ramadhir Singh — the brother of the influential Jharia legislator Late Surya Deo Singh on whom Bollywood scripted Gangs of Wasseypur — realised the folly late in the night and hurriedly tried to hide the elephants. However, by then, the news had spread across Dhanbad town.
The forest department too sprung into action and began hunting for the elephants. Divisional forest officer Satish Chandra Rai said action would be taken against the candidate under existing forest law if the information is true. “We haven’t come across the elephants as yet,” he added.
Sources informed that the elephants are either in the house of the BSP nominee or his influential sister-in-law, Kunti Singh, a BJP legislator at the latter’s house called Singh Mansion, a famous landmark of Dhanbad. The duo, however, declined they had elephants in their house.
The Singh family controls Dhanbad’s mainstream as well as the trade union politics. The family has so far produced at least four legislators, a mayor and a deputy mayor. The BSP nominee also holds the post of Balia Zila Parishad chairman and is equally popular in the Uttar Pradesh politics.
He had switched sides on more than one occasion, but eventually settled with the BSP. He has stiff opponents from various national and regional parties and has remote chances of victory.
But the loud-mouth politician has been threatening his rivals from political platforms that the elephants would no more remain confined to the jungles. “The elephants would trample all opponents in the fray,” he was heard saying at a couple of election meetings.
With the elephants finally arriving, rival parties seem a worried lot. “He cannot violate norms to secure votes. We will move the election commission if he hits the streets with the elephants,” district BJP president, HP Lata said.