By Sanjay Pandey
A 54-year-old holy man has literally put his foot down over the controversial relocation of a proposed bridge across the Ganges, connecting Bhagalpur and Naugachia.
From protesting in neck-deep water for days to staying perched atop a tree for months, Yogi Gyanswarup Tapaswi, known for his extreme and unique ways of staging demonstrations has now buried his right foot into the ground, in protest, demanding the construction of the bridge at its original venue near Vijay ghat.
Succumbing to the public pressure built due to Tapaswi’s Jal Satyagraha (protest in neck-deep water) in 2004, the state government had sanctioned Rs 350 crore for the project four years later.
At that time, prior to Bihar’s historic assembly election that brought about the end of Lalu Yadav’s Jungle raaj, several JD (U) leaders, including Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, had assured Tapaswi that the bridge would be built at the place decided by him.
However, after the party came to power, Nitish made a U-turn to reap the political dividends and shifted the location of the bridge near the house of an influential politician of his party, citing technical problems at Vijayghat, the site suggested by Tapaswi.
Now, as the government has started construction at the Chausa site and not at Vijay ghat, the saint has literally put his foot down over the controversial relocation of the proposed bridge connecting Bhagalpur and Naugachia. Not only has he buried his right foot till the ankle into the ground, he has also been on a “six-month fast unto death” from February 6. Tapaswi is certain that his gesture, would bring doom to the opportunistic politicians.
Almost half way through his six-month-long foot-down protest, the saint hasn’t moved an inch from his place, claims one of his disciples.