The dacoit gangs of Bundelkhand are back in action and this time around it is for a political cause campaigning for the Samajwadi Party.
Leading the campaign is Deepak Patel,the son of slain dacoit Ambika Patel alias Thokia,and Raju Kol,the leader of Dadua gang.
Exerting their influence in the three Parliamentary constituencies of Allahabad,Banda and Hamirpur,the duo is out to support SP candidates.
Raju and Deepak,now heading the gang,are learnt to have issued diktats in Chitrakoot and in Banda especially in the villages nestled in forests and the hills.
In the 2003 Assembly polls,the gangs were in favour of the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). This change is also clearly reflected in the new slogan Agar mohar lagegi haathi pe toh goli khaoge chati pe which is a reverse of the previous one: Mohar lagao haati pe verna goli khaoge chati pe. The last one was issued by them in favour of the BSP in 2003.
So far,Deepak and Raju have conducted meetings in Manikpur,Naraini,Patha,Bharatkoop and Kalinjer areas and have reportedly sent messages to the community members to support the SP and oppose the BSP,said sources.
Shiv Kumar alias Dadua and Thokia,who were both from the Patel community,were killed in police encounters last year.
Raju,Deepak and Sunder Patel alias Ragia the second man in Thokia gang are dreaded dacoits and are wanted by the Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh police, said Rakesh Pradhan,Superintendent of Police,Chitrakoot.
They are now silent on the crime front and there is no information of any diktats issued by any gang, he added.
A few days ago,the Chitrakoot police had an encounter with Deepaks gang in Bharatkoop area. The dacoits were returning after addressing an election meeting in a village,said a police officer.
To garner support for the SP Allahabad Lok Sabha candidate,Reoti Raman Singh,Chitrakoot Zila Panchayat chairperson Veer Singh,son of Dadua,and Bal Kumar,Daduas younger brother who is the SP Lok Sabha candidate from Mirzapur,have already called five meetings of their community members in the trans-Yamuna area.
Singh has also accepted that Veer and Bal are with the SP and have been given the task of mobilising votes of their community.
Consider the criminal history of these supporters: Three criminal cases have been registered under Veers belt and Raju has a cash reward of Rs 20,000 on his head.
Raju,on the other hand,has urged his community members to vote for RK Singh Patel,the SP candidate from Banda,who has been accused of giving protection to Dadua.
I do not know anything about Deepak or Raju. If they are supporting the SP,it is their wish, said RK Singh.
Although the district authorities in Banda and Chitrakoot denied knowledge of such diktats,the village sources said the Patel community is now in favour of the SP after Deepak and Veer announced their allegiance to the party.
The Patel community accounts for 12 to 14 per cent of the 5.5 lakh votes in the Banda Lok Sabha seat. The community is in a dominant position and is considered to be a deciding factor.
Amita Bajapi of BJP,RK Singh Patel of SP and Bhairo Prashad Mishra of BSP are in the fray for the Banda seat. The Congress has yet not announced its candidate. Preetam Singh Lodhi of BJP,Ashok Chandel of SP and Vijay Bahadur Singh of BSP are in direct fight for the Hamirpur Lok Sabha seat.
Dadua and Thokia were basically dacoits and had never represented their community. The SP candidate has shown his true colours,but the Patel community will not support the SP, said Ashok Bajpai.