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Nawada: The trend of poaching on MLAs and bundling them off to ‘safer’ places to ward off the ‘evil eyes’ of political opponents has now affected the panchayat samiti members as well on whom lies the onus of electing block pramukhs. It is no longer restricted to Rajya Sabha polls alone. And if the panchayat samiti member happens to be a woman due to compulsions of reservation, it is her husband who is ‘wooed’ by their politically ambitious mentors. All the precautions and expenses besides risks involved are never undertaken by the candidate but by his political mentor. For a panchayat samiti member is small cog in the political wheel who has generally exhausted all his resources at his command during the campaign itself.

Weekly, if not fortnightly ‘tours’, as  it is euphemistically called, have been organized and the  representatives, generally more than the half the elected numbers , are humored with sumptuous food and liquor to remain loyal to their political benefactors during the ‘tour’ whose tenure expires just a night or hours before the voting. The ‘tour’, on the ‘brighter’ side, helps them to brush up their knowledge of the history and geography of the various places which, is never confined to a particular place or hotel/resort.

As with professional kidnappers, who keep on shifting their victim from place to place to avoid police detection, so is the case with these panchayat samiti representatives. But, it is not the cops they are afraid off but their rival political predators. The major difference being that while in kidnapping for ransom, the victim is lodged at a darkly confined place against his/her will, the panchayat samiti members, on the other hand, happily prefer to remain confined.

The lust for power never comes cheap. Their mentors lavishly spend to keep their flock in ‘high spirits’. The number of ‘tourists’ constitute a majority to ensure the defeat of their rival contenders. However, the risk of a potential ‘defector’ always looms on the horizon.

Take the random case of Warisaliganj block where there are 21 elected panchayat samiti members. To elect the Warisaliganj block pramukh, at least 11 votes are required to ensure a thumping and resounding victory. Here around 13 to 14 panchayat samiti members are on a protracted ‘tour’ for last 10 days. Their political mentor is a much-feared ‘don’ and husband of the current local MLA who is wary of the former local MLA. The members are to cast their vote en bloc to elect the block pramukh on June 22. The ‘tour’, which started from Patna, got extended to Munger’s Tarapeeth, Deoghar (supposedly to invoke Lord Shiva’s blessings), and in all likelihood, is destined beyond the boundaries of the state and country, i.e. Nepal. These dozen and odd panchayat samiti members are expected to arrive either on June 21night or in the early morning of the day of voting, i.e. on June 22.

In Akbarpur block, panchayat samiti members are wooed with cash and kind in absence of an organised ‘tour’. Sums ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh are allegedly given to a panchayat samiti member to seek his vote.  A motorcycle is also added as a perk so that they can make their journey from their home to the block  to ‘serve’ the people of their area.


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