As the Mahagathbandhan took firm hold of Bihar on Sunday, over a thousand kilometres away the villagers of Bisada in Dadri celebrated what they called “a slap” on the face of communal politics. This village in Greater Noida had seen its fair share of hate politics less than two months ago, when a Muslim man, Mohammad Akhlaq, was lynched on suspicion of slaughtering a cow.

“There’s no space for hate politics in our country. Today’s result is a tribute to my father, and against hate and communalism. People should realise there is no gain in fighting in the name of religion. I appeal to all politicians not to divide the country for the sake of power,” said Akhlaq’s eldest son Sartaj to The Times of India.

These sentiments were echoed by the village’s ex-chief, Bhoop Singh, who blamed politicians for the communal tension in his village. “If politicians had not visited our village, we were capable of dealing with the situation. But politicians need vote banks,” he said. “The Bihar result is a slap on their faces.”

Several villagers TOI interviewed seemed to agree with the assessment, speaking out strongly against what they called “the politics of divide and rule”.