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Love for sibling over wife in civic polls puts Bihar man in trouble, spouse pronounces him ‘dead’

A woman, who lost the polls to her brother-in-law, was ticked off by her husband, who supported his brother during canvassing, that she pronounced him ‘dead’, washed off vermilion on her forehead and burnt his clothes and testimonials - a common practice after one’s death as per local tradition in Bihar.

india Updated: May 26, 2017 10:40 IST
Prasun K Mishra
Prasun K Mishra
Hindustan Times, Bhabua
civil polls,urban local body election,Bihar polls
A distraught Mira Devi who has disowned her husband after losing civic polls in Bhabua. (HT photo)

A man who supported his younger brother over his wife in the May 21 urban local body elections in Bihar, now finds himself in troubled waters in Bihar’s Kaimur district.

Despite coming fourth at the hustings, his wife, Mira Devi, an outgoing ward councillor, who lost the polls to her brother-in-law, Manoj Kumar Singh, has squarely held her husband responsible for her defeat.

In deciding to punish her husband, she has not only ‘externed’ Birju Singh Patel, a state executive committee member of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), from his father’s house, but also pronounced him ‘dead’.

Birju Singh Patel who sided with his brother over wife in the civic polls in Bhabua. (HT photo)

Devi has even washed off the vermilion on her forehead, a symbol of widow or unmarried women as per the Hindu tradition, and also burnt Patel’s clothes and testimonials, a common practice after one’s death as per local tradition in Bihar.

Patel was even abused and assaulted thrice by his wife and sons during canvassing. As he continues to lead a nomadic life, his victorious brother also finds himself helpless to accommodate Patel, as the two families, despite being separated, reside in the same house.

Patel’s effort to rope in his guru, Pt Bagishwari Prasad Dwivedi, for rapprochement has also come a cropper. “His (Patel’s) wife and children are furious and are not willing to relent. They see Patel as a betrayer and say he will be punished if he returns home. I have failed to convince them to patch up with Patel,” said Pt Dwivedi.

“My husband is responsible for my defeat and I will never forgive him for this,” said Devi.

Mira Devi who burnt the testimonials of her husband Birju Singh after losing the civic polls in Bhabua. (HT photo)

Patel, on the other hand, said: “My brother is a social activist. Instead of pitchforking his wife, he allowed my wife to contest from here when the seat was reserved for women in 2007 and 2012. Now the seat has been dereserved and he rightly deserves to contest it.”

For Patel, the trouble began since April 21 when Devi, a ward councillor then, filed her nomination papers against his younger brother Singh from ward number 7 in Bhabua, district headquarters of Kaimur, nearly 200 kms south-west of Patna.

The family has held the seat for the last 15 years, when Singh first won it in 2002. The mantle was passed on to Devi when the Bihar government, which has 50% quota for women in civic and panchayat polls, reserved the seat for women in 2007 and 2012. This year, when the seat was dereserved, Singh decided to contest the polls. Patel supported his brother after his effort to convince his wife not to contest the polls fell on deaf ears.

A total of 13,027 candidates - 6137 male and 6,,890 female - were in fray for 2,300 seats of ward councillors in urban local body polls, held in 63 nagar panchayats, 31 nagar parishads and seven nagar nigams across 35 of the 38 districts of Bihar on May 21. Polls in Patna district will be held on June 4 and 7, while those of Arwal and Begusarai districts have been completed. Results of 35 districts were declared on May 23.

Ward councillors elect chairperson and vice-chairperson, and have a decisive role in selection and implementation of development schemes, besides controlling day-to-day functioning of the respective urban local body.

First Published: May 26, 2017 10:40 IST