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India General Elections 2024: ‘RJD will slash cooking gas cylinder prices by Rs 700’

Updated on: 28 May,2024 07:10 AM IST  |  PALIGANJ
Diwakar Sharma |

mid-day chats with locals of Paliganj who complain of bad roads, a lack of schools and a 20 km commute to closest hospital

India General Elections 2024: ‘RJD will slash cooking gas cylinder prices by Rs 700’

Supporters of the INDIA block at the rally in Paliganj on Monday. PICS/DIWAKAR SHARMA

The star campaigner of Opposition INDIA bloc and former deputy chief minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav has been aggressively addressing public rallies aiming to dethrone the central government in this general polls. He has been able to pull crowds in his rallies where downtrodden people including women, young, old and even preadolescents are coming to listen to the 34-year-old son of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav.

To date, he has managed to address back-to-back more than 250 rallies in this Lok Sabha election in different states. The RJD national spokesperson, Manoj Kumar Jha told mid-day that it’s the highest number of election rallies so far. “Despite being unwell, Tejashwi-ji has been addressing public rallies in this election,” Jha told mid-day.

Lachiya Devi, Kamla Devi, Lalti Devi, Parvati Devi and Kanti Devi from Ajda Village to complain to senior leaders about the problems they face
Lachiya Devi, Kamla Devi, Lalti Devi, Parvati Devi and Kanti Devi from Ajda Village to complain to senior leaders about the problems they face

It’s often wondered “who are these people” coming to listen to Tejashwi, whose popularity is growing by the day. Meanwhile, there were a few people who had come only to see the helicopters in which the political leaders landed.

On Monday, Tejashwi and Rahul landed in their helicopters to seek votes for Pataliputra Lok Sabha constituency Misa Bharti, who addressed the crowd saying, “No promises made by the central government were fulfilled. Bihar has been in dire need of a special package but no special status has been granted by the Centre to date. Also, no sugar mill in Bihar has been reopened as promised.”

“If you vote for RJD, we will reduce the gas cylinder price from existing Rs 1,200 to Rs 500,” uttered Bharti to the cheering crowd at the rally ground in Paliganj on Monday in the presence of Rahul Gandhi. mid-day spoke to a number of people in the audience. Most of the people present at the rally ground were annoyed with the false promises made by the BJP-led NDA leaders in the past elections. Even the women expressed dismay as their children remained unemployed. The students, too, voiced their discontent.

An RJD supporter at the rally
An RJD supporter at the rally

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi-ji’s government is hollow from within. He had promised 2 crore jobs every year, he had promised to bring back black money and credit R15 lakh in everyone’s bank account and many other promises were made. Why these promises were not fulfilled? Later, the government said that it was ‘political jumla’,” said 57-year-old Babuanand Kumar, a former mukhiya from Jarkha panchayat at Noorchak Village.

“Why should we believe in what he is saying today? Tomorrow he will mock the public saying that it was a political jumla… so it is better to support Mahagathbandhan. At least they are not making any communal speeches with saffron brigades. I have come here to listen to our leader Tejashwi Yadav, who has promised jobs,” Kumar said.

Sudarshan Ram, 54, is a labourer. “I studied up to Std. 12, but later had to give up my education as my father was a poor man. The current central government has done nothing for the poor people… please come and see the conditions we are living in. Why hasn’t the central government done anything to improve our living standards? How will our children complete their education? I am standing here today in the support of Mahagathbandhan and we will vote for RJD leader Misa Bharti because the sitting MP Ram Kripal Yadav never visited our village,” he said.

Ram Bir Yadav, farmer
Ram Bir Yadav, farmer

“The drainage system in our village has been in a bad shape for decades. There is no hospital close to Noorchak Village. The nearest hospital from our village is 20 km away in Paliganj… one can imagine how difficult it is for us to take an ailing person or a pregnant woman to hospital when the road is bad. Why is the central government not doing anything for our village?” Ram wondered.

A group of young students came to Paliganj from the adjacent LS constituency only to see Rahul and listen to Tejashwi. “I am pursuing my graduation and aiming to get a job in Indian Railways. We are pinning high hopes in RJD this time because he (Tejashwi) has promised us jobs. The central government has ditched the country,” said Deepak Kumar, 16.

A 19-year-old Bipin Kumar said, “The prime minister is in his 70s but still he is fighting to retain his post. But in contrast, he wants ‘agniveers’ to retire after four years of service. I am preparing for defence, but what will I do four years down the line at the age of 24 years? Naturally, I will look for another option. It is the reason I want Mahagathbandhan to win this general election.”

A 64-year-old farmer from Dariyapur, Ram Bir Yadav said, “This time, Yadavs in the Paliganj area are poised to withhold their support from the incumbent MP Ram Kripal Yadav. It seems he is headed for electoral defeat, with RJD’s Misa Bharti poised for a sweeping victory instead. Yadav is not meeting his party workers in Paliganj. He is losing this seat because there is no developmental work in his constituency.”

Meanwhile, an elderly lady Lachiya Devi and her neighbours headed to the rally ground from their village so that they could narrate their painful ordeal caused by the deteriorating living conditions. “I have been residing in a thatched roof hut which gets destroyed every year during monsoon. No one in my house is employed and it is really difficult. I was told that top leaders are arriving here in their helicopters to address a rally. So, I am here to tell them about my pain. But will these leaders meet me and listen to our problems?” asked the woman from Ajda Village, Paliganj.

“The politicians come and go every election but our living conditions have not improved,” she added. Another elderly woman, Kamla Devi said, “We run the house by sharing the farming land. We have no jobs. Who cares for poor people… the politicians and their foot soldiers visit us only during elections and later they disappear until the next poll dates are announced. There is no hospital in the village. Also, the school is only up to Std. 8. Who will improve the conditions of our Ajda village?”

A group of middle-aged men had come from Mungila Village, Imamganj. “The electorate from rural areas is in absolute support of RJD this time. Misa Bharti is going to have a landslide victory with a margin of at least 2 lakh votes,” said Vinod Yadav.

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