Lackluster Ravan Vadh at Gandhi Maidan; BJP Faces Missing from the Event

Ravan Vadh at Patna's Gandhi Maidan on Tuesday.

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Patna: Dussehra in Patna this year was anything but spirited largely due to the historic flooding of the city caused by incessant rain and a failed underground drainage system but also because of apparent crack in the NDA with no member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) showing up for the Ramlila event held as always at Patna's historical Gandhi Maidan.

While Chief Minister Nitish Kumar played the role of the chief guest and carried out the formalities required of him, his deputy Sushil Kumar Modi was nowhere to be seen. Nor were any other leaders or Members of Parliament from the BJP.

Interestingly, besides the presence of other senior Janata Dal – U leaders, media was abuzz with the presence of Congress leader and party's state president Madan Mohan Jha who was seen standing next to Nitish Kumar sending a wave of speculation in the political corridor whether the JD-U was once again looking to dump the BJP in Bihar and possibly form an alliance with the Congress party that is itching to break its ties with the Rashtriya Janata Dal-led Mahagathbandhan in Bihar.

Kumar, in the wake of Patna flood, has been a target of criticism by many BJP leaders with Begusarai MP Giriraj Singh leading the anti-Nitish band.

Meanwhile, despite a moderate-sized crowd at the Gandhi Maidan, the entire Ramlila event was devoid of much enthusiasm or passion. To add to the misery, the main and the tallest effigy of Ravan collapsed a day before the main event due to a soggy ground leaving only two effigies standing.

The Chief Minister, along with other members of the JD-U and Congress party, lighted the ceremonial lamp and released balloons to kick off the event. This was followed by religious songs and hymns followed by the traditional 'Ravan Vadh' by actors dressed as Lord Ram, his brothers Lakshman, Bharat, and Shatrughan; wife Sita, and Lord Hanuman.

When asked what was the reason any BJP leader was not present on the occasion, a JD-U spokesperson said that the saffron party had decided to not celebrate the Ravan Vadh due to the destruction caused by the flood in Bihar.

"Many areas in Patna are still under several feet of water and BJP MPs including Ravi Shankar Prasad, Ram Kripal Yadav, and Nand Kishore Yadav are busy dealing with problems in their respective constituencies," he said.

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