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The night view of the busy Bailey road the Maurya Lok complex.
The night view of the busy Bailey road the Maurya Lok complex.

Patna's Cinderella hour a thing of the past

  • Bihar’s capital has come far from being representative of the country’s cow belt
  • Marquee luxury automobile badges have opened shop in the ancient city. And people are buying

Patna: Bihar’ capital Patna, which has been continuously inhabited since 490 BC, is a city in transition. Rapidly embracing marquee brand outlets which once were a rarity, the city’ denizens have struck out the self imposed Cinderella hour which was borne out of law and order problems.

As the country awaited the election results to the 17th Lok Sabha, the bustling Maurya Lok complex teeming with families and couples on Wednesday night was a far cry away from the deserted look that one of the oldest and major shopping areas of the state capital wore a few years back.

“Earlier during Lalu’s and RJD’s regime, people were afraid to be seen splurging on big-ticket expenses such as cars. This was due to utter lawlessness that was allowed on the streets. Now, Patna is a much safer city as compared to Delhi or elsewhere," said a senior Bihar Police official requesting anonymity.

Anecdotal evidences of night life in Patna abound. The Litti Chokha stall outside the Maurya Lok does brisk business, with families queing up to taste the hugely popular gram flour stuffed whole wheat dough balls. There are also round the clock open restaurants which see quite a turnover.

While the grandeur of ancient Patliputra as described by Megasthenes, ambassador to the court of Chandragupta Maurya may still be some time away, Bihar’s capital has come far from being representative of the country’s cow belt. Marquee luxury automobile badges have opened shop in the ancient city. And people are buying.

The irony couldn’t be starker. In 2002 media reports said that RJD miscreants allegedly raided car showrooms to ferry guests for the marriage of Lalu Prasad Yadav and Rabri Devi’s second daughter, Rohini.

Former deputy chief minister of Bihar, Tejashwi Yadav, who the Lok Sabha election campaign for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the absence of party chief Lalu Prasad, who is serving a jail sentence in the fodder scam case, has vigorously defended his party’s previous regime.

In an earlier interview to Mint, Tejashwi Yadav said, “Are doctors not paying extortion money today? Is everything over? Are murders not happening? Have incidents of rapes not increased? Things continue to happen. There are people of a certain mentality who are spreading canards. If that was jungle raj, this is rakshasa raj."

However, the flights to Jay Prakash Narayan Airport are full. A new Rs13,366-crore Metro rail project with two rail corridors is also coming up. The Danapur Cantt-Mithapur corridor will pass through the heart of Patna and connect densely populated areas like Raza Bazar, Secretariat, high court and Law University Railway Station. The Patna Junction-ISBT corridor will connect Gandhi Maidan, PMCH, Patna University, Rajendra Nagar, Mahatma Gandhi Setu, Transport Nagar and ISBT.

“Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have been able to get votes because of its anti-Pakistan stand and avenging the Pulwana attack," said 32 year Nandesh from Begusarai.

“Mahagatbandhan couldn’t get its act right and even gave tickets to wrong candidates," added Nandesh, who voted for Communist Party of India’s Kanhaiya Kumar in the avidly watched triangular contest between BJP’s Giriraj Singh and the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Tanvir Hassan.

There have been many a first to Bihar's credit. The state government's Har Ghar Bijli Yojana was the trigger for Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana (Saubhagya) to provide electricity connections to over 40 million families in rural and urban areas.

“Earlier a place such as Goplaganj didn’t even get electricity for two years. Today, there is round the clock electricity supply," said 40 year old Afroz, a state government official.

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