Simians make a monkey out of elections in Saharsa

Saharsa (Bihar), Oct 21 (IANS) It’s all about monkeys in Bihar’s Saharsa constituency where many who voted in the first round of the assembly elections Thursday admitted candidly that the candidate who promised to trap the simians would also catch their votes.

Voters in nearly two dozen villages in this flood prone constituency in Kosi belt said monkeys posed huge trouble, destroying vast swathes of crops and harassing people. While the campaign was about development of course, the monkey menace had also become a major issue, with several candidates promising a life without fear by getting rid of the animals.

‘We said clearly that we would vote for candidates who make a genuine promise to us to get rid of monkeys,’ farmer Mithlesh Singh told IANS.

Harried people in Saharsa, about 200 km from the state capital Patna, blamed local officials as well as political leaders for ignoring the issue. But this election and the allure of votes had seen candidates vowing to do something.

‘There is some ray of hope this time with menace of monkeys is an issue in polls,’ said Manju Devi, a village headperson.

‘In our area, they are the single largest crop destroyers. If the government can’t initiate moves to check the menace, villagers will stop sowing fields,’ she said with a note of finality.

Santosh Yadav from Bangaon village said most people were determined that their votes would go only to the person serious about tackling the pesky simians.

‘The farmers are the real victims. With their crops destroyed, they have been suffering heavy losses,’ he said.

Amongst the candidates who have held out the hope that something would be done is legislator Sanjeev Kumar Jha, who represented the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) but is now contesting as an independent. Another independent, Kishore Kumar Munna, has also seized of the import of the issue.

The results of this first phase will only be known Nov 24. Whoever comes to power, people here are fervently hoping, should just end the monkey business once and for all.