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Congress Muslim MLA of India’s poorest district hires helicopter, spends Rs one crore in wedding

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By Manzar Imam

While people are debating corruption and poor delivery of public goods by the government to be the prime causes of general unrest in society, a Congress Member of the Bihar Legislative Assembly (MLA) of one of the poorest districts of India went to fetch his bride in a chartered chopper, spent a hefty Rs One crore in his marriage – a clear case of show of wealth, moustache and muscle.

The Congress Party fared poorly in the last Bihar Assembly elections with only four candidates managining to win.

The previous time (2005) it had won 10 seats. The party then must have held closed-door meetings to introspect and analyze the causes of such a poor performance. Distrust among the people about the party candidates’ laid- back attitudes towards public welfare could be one of the reasons for an almost complete washout from the state’s political landscape.

Accused of several criminal charges, the precedent set by MLA, Mohammad Tausif Alam of the Bahadurganj constituency, only strengthens the general public belief in public representatives’ wanton disregard to issues of welfare and development.

More than 50 percent of the villages in this unfortunate district of Bihar still do not have electricity. Health facility is dismal. Roads which are constructed from Central funds start peeling off and showing cracks before seeing the face of next season. No public representative talks about basic civic needs like pure drinking water and sanitation.

The poor literacy rate of the district calls for some radical steps to be taken. But, who cares? The northeastern Seemanchal region of Bihar which also includes Kishanganj witnesses heavy rain, flood and soil erosion every year.

It results into huge loss of crops, the only means to survival for the poor small farmers. But no MP or MLA ever seems to bother about doing anything.

Candidates fighting panchayat elections spend an average of 8 to 10 lakh rupees. Once elected they make many times more, buy expensive cars and construct big houses. Hardly 10 percent of the funds allocated for development work, are used. This illiterate or semi-educated “new riche” class has little or no regard at all for the promises it makes while campaigning for votes.

The state and district administration cannot claim ignorance. But their silence and inaction possibly have two meanings – either they also indulge in similar corrupt practices or they have their share in the booty.

There are many rags-to-riches stories in each panchayat and block that need public scrutiny and investigation. If an MLA who allegedly declared his moveable assets to be worth Rs 6.92 lakhs and immovable assets of worth Rs 26.01 lakhs spends an estimated 1 crore rupee in marriage within less than three years’ time after the last State Assembly elections, that tells the whole story of public representatives’ corrupt conducts and illegal earning.

Some of the Assembly constituencies with more than 60 percent Muslim population like Bahadurganj, Kochadhaman, Amour have Muslim MLAs from Congress, RJD and BJP respectively, but leave aside the issues of general public welfare, none seems to bother about issues of even Muslims on whose name they beg for votes.

The MLA’s royal marriage at a time when parents of hundreds of poor girls in the social context of Kishanganj find it hard to marry off their daughters crossing the age of marriage only makes one believe that if you have money and power, you can run away in equal ease with both bride and pride!

[Manzar Imam, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at manzarkhalil@gmail.com]
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