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'We don't want Aadhar, Aadhar Hatao'

Last updated on: May 28, 2024 11:37 IST

'The aged with retina and fingerprint issues are not getting access to pension and ration.'

'If all becomes digital -- what'll happen to the poor?'

IMAGE: Anshul Avijit, the Congress candidate from the Patna Sahib constituency, worships at the temple. All Photographs and Videos: Rajesh Karkera for

The small group of Congress members are seated in plastic chairs outside the one-room modest party office in Kadamkuan, Patna. They had been waiting for Congress candidate Anshul Avijit, son of former Lok Sabha Speaker and 5-time MP Meira Kumar and grandson of former defence minister Jagjivan Ram.

Cambridge-educated Avijit begins his campaign for the day with a temple visit close to the Congress office, and then drops into the office.

The waiting group gets up and surrounds him. They are a mix of elders and middle aged men and women. They all have party sashes hung around their necks.

It is 9 am and the punishing heat scorches the scalp and burns the skin. It is impossible to remain outdoors unless the head is wrapped with a cotton gamacha or stole. In Bihar, party offices and candidates' campaign quarters always have people passing trays of water and tea. A water dispenser is always in sight.

IMAGE: Anshul Avijit's convoy passes through the street.

Defying the heat, a man dressed in shiny golden pants, coat and hat beats the dhol as Anshul Avijit walks into the Congress office.

The drumming stops as Avijit picks up a megaphone to speak. In a short message, he primes up the workers, exhorting them to work hard to ensure their party's victory.

The Congress last won from Patna in 1984. The constituency was split into two -- Patliputra and Patna Sahib in 2008.

Anshul Avijit is contesting his first election from Patna Sahib which is a Bharatiya Janata Party stronghold. He is pitted against former Cabinet minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, the current MP.

IMAGE: INDIA Bloc supporters wait outside the office.

"Ek taarikh, ek number, panja chhap," Anshul Avijit makes them chant after him.

June 1 is the date of the election, Avijit's is the first name on the EVM and the hand is the Congress symbol.

"You are all number one and you will make my victory a certainty," he says and the assembled Congress women and men cheer him loudly when he says that.

He later goes into the one-room office to talk to them and leaves to continue with his campaign in the city.

IMAGE: Lady Congress workers at the office.

The Congress workers then settle down in the room under the lone fan which provides no respite from the heat.

"This humble office has existed for decades; it is not a seesh mahal [glass palace] like the BJP's offices. We are the real karyakartas who have been working in the field for 10-15 years," says Pratibha Kumari in a high-pitched tone.

IMAGE: Congress worker Pratibha Kumari.

She vociferously opposes the Aadhar card and says digitisation has resulted in depriving a large number of people from accessing government schemes.

"The aged with retina and finger print issues are not getting access to pension and ration. No one is raising this issue."

"If everything becomes digital -- what will happen to the poor. They say they are removing poverty, but they are wiping out the poor."

Hear what Pratibha Kumari says about Aadhar and how Modiji would not have to give 5 kg free ration if he had provided jobs instead.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/