A dead man in Bihar has won the Panchayat polls held on Wednesday riding on a “sympathy wave” generated by his own death.
The real-life tragicomedy unfolded in Bihar's Jamui district - about 200 km from state capital Patna - when officials handed over certificates to candidates who won the polls held on November 24.
At the ceremony, one of the winning candidates Sohan Murmu was nowhere to be found.
“On enquiry, we learnt that Murmu had died on November 6, over a fortnight before the voting took place,” Block Development Officer (BDO) Raghavendra Tripathi.
Deepakarhar, from where Murmu won, happens to be a remote hamlet situated along the state's border with Jharkhand, which perhaps explains the demography of the village which has a predominantly tribal population.
Old residents also recall that this was the village to be hit by Naxal activity in the 1990s in the district that later became one of the worst-infested by ultra-Left insurgency, according to a list published by the Union Home Ministry a few years ago.
“Family members of Murmu, who defeated his rival by 28 votes, said it was his last wish to win the election. So they kept quiet. No resident of the village informed us either. It appears that they all voted in his favour to honour his last wish”, said the BDO.
The naivete of the family members of Murmu and the fellow villagers has brought on more work for the officials.
“The winner's certificate cannot be issued to anybody. We are going to write to the state election with the request that election for the ward concerned be nullified and fresh polls be held”, said Mr Tripathi.