?Crowd? turns smart; says no more befooling

Updated on Apr 11, 2004 03:08 PM IST

They are ?crowd?, as called by the political leaders. They decorate the election rallies by head count and the political leaders flaunt their popularity by the number of people present at the election meetings.

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PTI | By, Patna

They are unemployed but most wanted by the political parties because they form the ‘artificial support base’ of leaders and they are not loyal to any one master. They are ‘crowd’, as called by the political leaders. They decorate the election rallies by head count and the political leaders flaunt their popularity by the number of people present at the election meetings.

What does the ‘crowd’ get in return? “Sometimes blankets, sarees or even money for attending the meetings,” says a social activist.

However, that is not true always. They are often duped by the political parties and not even paid a penny for their ‘hard work’.

In such a situation, they have become smart. They have started demanding advance payment from the politicians. This time they are not getting carried away by mere assurance of blankets and sarees.

Wiser by earlier experience, they are proving to be a tough nut to crack.

“Whenever there is a political meeting, the leaders visit our locality. They make promises of distributing blankets, sarees, edibles and money. But once the event is over, they forget to keep their promise,” said a social activist of Nandanagar locality.

Only last month, during the Navchetna rally in the state capital, people of Nandnagar locality had a bitter experience.

Before the commencement of the rally, an announcement was made that union minister Dr CP Thakur would be distributing blankets to those who participated in it. They also noted down the name of the beneficiaries.

After the rally, Dr Thakur visited the locality to distribute the blankets but they were of poor quality, said a villager.

“People of slum areas are contacted by the political parties to give the venue a congested look. They are also given false assurance that they would be provided old age pension, food grains at cheaper rates and medicines,” said Geeta Devi, a social activist at Ambedkar colony in the state capital.

“However, when the promises are not fulfilled they realise that they have been befooled,” she added.

Another woman leader of the locality, Chunia Devi said a large number of women were ‘hired’ by the RJD men to attend a rally here about a year ago. They, however, were still awaiting the clothes they were promised by the party men, she added.

“We’ve decided that we will not participate in any event unless we are given in advance what we have been promised,” said Ragho Devi of Mahamudi Chak locality.

“Money is usually offered to rural folk. People of urban areas are given sarees, dhotis and edibles,” said Shobha of the same locality.

Asked whether people of the locality would be attending deputy prime minister’s Bharat Uday Yatra or other political meetings, she said, it would depend on the offer made by the party leaders.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Reena has been a journalist for over two decades. She has the experience of covering wide range of issues, including art, culture, archaeology, tourism, forest and women issues. She has also authored a book and is a recipient of the ‘Ramdhari Singh Dinkar Award’, given by the government of Bihar.

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