Three decades on, Ghosi awaits heir to legacy of its development man | India News

Even 25 years after his death, no candidate has dared to address the people of Ghosi Lok Sabha constituency during the ongoing campaign without remembering Kalpnath Rai – a politician who continues to be synonymous with Mau.
“A four-time member of Lok Sabha and thrice of Rajya Sabha, Rai carried out development works in and around the district which continue to serve as benchmark.No other parliamentarian from Mau has been able to even match the standard till now, forget about surpassing it,” says Virendra Kumar aka Virendra Engineer, once a close associate of Rai.
A Study In Contrast
“In stark contrast to Rai’s contribution, barely two months after the death of five-term MLA from Mau Sadar and mafia-turned politician Mukhtar Ansari, no impact or sympathy wave is palpable in the constituency in general, and Mau Sadar assembly segment in particular. Only out of fear, backing from the members of a community and serving the interest of a few in getting contracts and other works done led to his consecutive victories,” says advocate Hari Kant Singh, replying to a query on the mantra for Mukhtar’s successive victories.
Others like advocate Ashok Singh also echo similar sentiments.
“It is hard to forget Kalpanath Rai’s name when the development of Mau is discussed. It is equally hard to pin-point development works undertaken during Ansari’s five terms, barring construction of roads, drains and setting up of transformers at some places in the constituency,” a government official, listening to the conversation, chips in.
The Development Man
Back to Kalpanath Rai. “Around 23 power sub-stations, 28 automatic telephone exchanges, and out of the first three 400 KVA power substations, one was set up in Mau,” says Virendra Engineer. He points towards an 18-acre rose park across the Mau-Ballia Road, adding that this is one of the last works done by Rai Saheb before he died on June 4, 1999, at the age of 58.
The other two 400 KVA power sub-stations were set up in Varanasi and Gorakhpur then.
“Be it getting a new residence for Mau DM in five acres land, a new collectorate and court, over half-a-dozen state of the art guest houses, Indian Institute of Seed Science, Mau, and National Bureau of Agriculturally Important Microorganisms, the level of development works taken up by Rai continue to remain unmatched,” Virendra says, adding that several politicians who came after the demise of Rai claimed they would take Mau to newer heights but none could. “Mau had three railway overbridges at a time when even the state capital did not have one,” says Avinish Rai, a native of Kopa in Mau district. “Rai’s vision of development was such that Mau Sadar, which was not even a tehsil until 1987, became a district in 1988,” he adds. “Politicians have been challenged by people during discussions to only get the infrastructure and buildings that Rai got constructed, whitewashed and maintained for their five-year term, which itself will be a great service to the people of Mau. Even that could not be done,” says Virendra.
Shravan Kumar, another admirer of Rai, says: “There are many people who have the vision but there are a very few who also have a strong passion to work for their constituency.”
Tussle For Political Legacy
Ironically, all candidates across party lines continue to prove themselves as the true heir of Rai’s rich legacy. Rai’s close family members, including his son Siddharth and his second wife Sudha Rai, failed to take forward his legacy and contested against each other, both losing the Lok Sabha polls in 1999. Sudha was fielded by the Congress while Siddharth was a candidate from George Fernandes-led Samata Party.
“While every second person in Mau talks about Rai’s achievements, his home in Semari Jamalpur wears a deserted look. When Kalpanath Rai was alive, every person in and around his village was Kalpanath Rai in his own capacity,” says Narendra Rai, a native of Kalpanath’s village.
“Not sure who all live here nowadays,” he sums up as the candidates fight for Rai’s legacy.
Balkrishna Chauhan, who won in 1999 Lok Sabha election on BSP ticket after the death of Kalpanath Rai, is once again in the fray from BSP. He is pitted against SP-Congress alliance candidate Rajeev Rai and Suheldev Bharatiya Samaj Party (SBSP)-BJP alliance candidate Arvind Rajbhar. Arvind is the son of SBSP chief Om Prakash Rajbhar, who is also the cabinet minister in Yogi Adityanath govt in the state.
INDIA bloc’s Rajeev Rai promises to develop Mau as Kalpanath Rai did while Arvind Rajbhar and Balkrishna Chauhan promise to fulfil the dreams of Rai and develop the constituency like never before.
Before this election, BSP won the seat thrice – Balkrishna in 1999, Dara Singh Chauhan, who is now a Cabinet minister in Yogi govt, in 2009, and sitting MP Atul Rai in 2019. SP’s Chandradeo Prasad Rajbhar won the election in 2004 and BJP’s Hari Narayan Rajbhar bagged the seat once in 2014.
Congress has won the seat thrice – Kalpanath Rai twice in 1989 and 1991, and Umrao Singh in 1957.
“Despite the level of development, even Kalpanath Rai had to sweat it out in Mau to win elections,” says Virendra and adds that the caste complexities and equations, which ruled then, dominate even now.

Source link