The two-storey community hall built in 2015 is the biggest building in Bairgachhi, the native village of three-time Bihar chief minister Bhola Paswan Shastri, the state’s first Dalit CM.

Shastri was known for his austere lifestyle, having not built a pucca house for himself in his village or anywhere else. The community hall came up on the plot where his small mud hut once stood.

However, the village has no primary healthcare centre and no drainage system – two of the most repeated complaints by village residents. Most residents are landless and depend on daily wage labour for survival. Around 40 per cent of the village’s youth – between 18 and 30 years of age – go outside Bihar for work.

Ajay Kumar Paswan, a member of former CM Shastri’s family, said, “There are some 25 graduates in the village, and almost every child goes to school. But the school cuts a sad sight during rains, when it gets water-logged. The school has also been waiting for years for a fence to be built around it,” he said.

Even amid complaints about lack of development, many residents praised the Centre’s free ration and health insurance schemes. They also expressed happiness for getting water under the Har Ghar Nal Ka Jal scheme, and praised CM Nitish Kumar for the almost uninterrupted power supply the village enjoys.

“We get 4 kg rice and 1 kg wheat per month. The quality of the rice is very good. Even poor Muslims in the area benefit from it and praise the NDA government,” said Putul Devi, as she rests in the community hall.

However, there is a feeling that the legacy of the village’s most famous son, Bhola Paswan Shastri, has not been carried forward.