Shahabuddin one step ahead of EC probe team
As many as 39 delegations met the EC officials and impressed upon them that elections in Siwan were completely peaceful, impartial and fair. Whether they had come voluntarily or under compulsion is not difficult to guess.
The Election Commission’s decision to set up a two-member team to probe the alleged irregularities in Siwan elections must have come as a shock to the Shahabuddin camp. More so, because the EC order for repolling at 25 booths had almost assured them that there would be no further action in this regard.
“What is the rationale behind this probe?” almost all the Shahabuddin supporters in Siwan are heard asking this question. “We have serious doubts about the intentions of the election commission. When RJD candidate from Maharajganj levelled similar charges against the JD-U candidate, the EC took no action. But in case of Siwan, they have set up a probe committee without any basis and that, too, almost two weeks after the polling,” said Pashupati Nath Pathak, an RJD leader.
Shahabuddin camp might have been taken aback by the EC decision, but they were certainly not caught napping when the EC team actually visited the district. To start with, hundreds of RJD supporters thronged the circuit house, where the EC officials stayed, and the ‘mela’ was lifted only when the probe team left the place.
As many as 39 delegations met the EC officials and gave their version of what had happened on April 26. There were members of the District Bar Association, Siwan Vyavsayik Sangh, Doctors’ Association, Bharatiya Torha Sangh, Mahila Sangharsh Morcha, Snehi Lokotthan Sansthan, Bramharshi Samaj, Kayastha Mahasabha, Madhyamik Teachers’ Sangh, College Teachers’ Association and so on. There were also chairperson of the Siwan District Board Lilawati Giri and pramukhs of Siwan and Panchrukhi.
They all gathered and patiently waited for hours for their turn to impress upon the EC officials that elections in Siwan were completely peaceful, impartial and fair. Whether they had come voluntarily or under compulsion is not difficult to guess.
Apparently, the Shahabuddin camp was not taking any chances. The experience of EC team’s Chapra visit had helped it chalk out its strategy. The RJD supporters had spread out in different areas in anticipation of the EC team’s visit.
Some of the Shahabuddin men were keeping a constant watch over each and every movement of the EC officials and reporting it to ‘someone’ through cellphones.
Though the EC team had, quite understandably, kept its programme a complete secret, the RJD men were one step ahead. In fact, one of them informed this reporter about the EC team’s programme 10 minutes before it left to inspect the strong rooms. Similarly, the EC officials’ plan to visit some villages before leaving Siwan was also known to RJD men.
It is too far fetched to suggest that the district administration officials were passing the information about EC team’s movement to the locals. But what was apparent was that they looked the other way when Shahabuddin supporters chased the EC convoy, which visited the villages to get a first hand account of the happenings there.