The poll-bound state of Bihar has over 8,000 Mukhiyas serving the people of the state but only 1 stands out and boasts of a very impressive Wikipedia page which is very rare if not unhear of when it comes to Panchayat chiefs. The Mukhiya of Singhwahini which falls under the Parihar assembly constituency, Ritu Kumari Jaiswal has received a plethora of recognized awards for her work since she got elected in 2016. Wife of a former IAS officer, Arun Kumar who served as the Director of the Central Vigilance Commission before opting to retire, Ritu has quite a resume to showcase as she gears up to contest as the RJD’s candidate for the Parihar assembly constituency. Her laurels started with the ‘UchhShikshit Adarsh Yuva Sarpanch Puraskaar’ in 2016, months after she got elected. In 2018 she was conferred the Champions of Change award by the Vice President of India. She also received the ‘ Flame Leadership award -2019’ from the Rural Marketing Association of India for her work apart from representing Bihar at the SEE Talks held at IIT Mumbai in 2018. Her Gram Panchayat was conferred the National Panchayat award by the Union Ministry of Panchayat Raj in October 2019.
One would have to say that the Covid-19 outbreak and the consequential lockdown will definitely end up being an advantage for Ritu with the prominence of local governance increasing due to the same. The local governance system has and is playing the most important role in the war against Covid-19 in the second most populous country in the world. The anti-incumbency against sitting BJP MLA Gayatri Devi owing to her disconnect with the ground during troubling times is expected to help Ritu in converting the seat for RJD and its chief Tejashwi Yadav. However, RLSP candidate Amjad Hussain Anwar could well pose a hurdle for Ritu in a constituency dominated by the Muslim community. The fight for the Yadav vote between Ritu and Gayatri Devi who is a Yadav herself could be the deciding factor when it comes Ritu’s chances.
Among the major communities, the Kori, Mushrar, ,Paswan communities along with a few Yadavs are expected to support the NDA while the Vaishya community and a sizeable chunk of Muslim and Yadav voters are expected to support Ritu. 43 year old Ritu Jaiswal will also be hoping to attract the youth vote owing to her educational background and the work that she has done as the Mukhiya of Singhwahini which was declared open defecation free within months of her taking over. How it all unfolds is something that one has to wait to see but one thing is for sure, the Battle for Parihar assures to be a very interesting one that could make Tejashwi and Ritu smile on the 10th of November when the results are declared.