MUNGER: There was a time when its underground and illegal arms factories terrorised a whole nation. Workmen from the Munger Gun Factory, established in British times, took to serving the mafia, Maoists and looters, fashioning anything, from a pistol to an AK-47, which surfaced everywhere, from Bihar to NCR, Uttar Pradesh to Andhra Pradesh, earning this place infamy.
It is in the same constituency that two heavyweight candidates, namely Rajiv Ranjan alias Lallan Singh of JD (U), and Neelam Devi of the Congress, have trained their guns on each other.
Neelam Devi is the wife of Anant Singh, one of Bihar’s don-turned-politicians and a two-time legislator from Barh, now incarcerated. His wife is debuting on behalf of the Mahagathbandhan, riding on the political popularity and influence of her husband in the powerful Bhumihar community. Nitish Kumar’s candidate, minister for water resources, Rajeev Ranjan Singh, canvasses on the reputation of the chief minister built on proven development initiatives.
“The contest is between performance and promises. The polarisation of voters of other castes, including SC and EBCs and female voters, whose turnout percentage has always remained above 60 per cent, will ultimately decide who wins”, said Ratenshwar Jha, a banker at Munger.
In the dreaded but most fertile and waterlogged Taal areas of Munger and Mokamah, it is the writ of Anant that rules, to the benefit of his wife.
“Neelam is not an ordinary candidate. She is the wife of Chhote Sarkar Anant Singh. And Singh is king here”, remarked a youth, adding that the fight was virtually locked between the sarkari party (read JD(U)) and Bihar’s Chhote Sarkar.
At Suryagarha, Rajeshwar Singh alias Tulu Babu said, “The fight here is between rajya sarkar (state government) and the wife of self-proclaimed Chhote Sarkar Anant Singh. The voters are cautious. This time, the sitting LJP MP of Munger, Veena Devi, wife of another heavyweight muscleman, Surajbhan Singh, is not in the fray, but her support will help Lallan.
Raghvendra Kumar Singh, 65, a retired employee of a Tata group firm, said: “A different kind of political yoga is being witnessed in Munger—home to the famous Bihar School of Yoga, set up by Swami Satayanand Sarwaswati in 1964. Only the strong will win. People appear to be in the mood to choose a candidate who is in regular touch, instead of a candidate who cannot be approached”.
“While Lallan is citing the innumerable road projects and projects for Taal area executed under Nitish’s regime, Neelam Devi believes she will win the elections”, said, Ramesh Kumar, in Mokamah town.
Anant Singh, once close to Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, parted ways with him in 2018 when he was sent to jail in connection with a murder case. “Whenever he moves in the area, he moves with at least 100 cars and thousands of-hard supporters. That is his rutba (status) in Munger”, said Sanjiv Kumar, a youth of Mokamah.