Polling is underway in 6 naxal hit district sof Bihar in Phase II of the Assembly elections today. 32 seats are up for grabs and voting has started since early morning. Though the voter turnout since morning hasn’t been striking at all thus far, the region holds a lot of interest for political observer as well as the contestants.
Politically these 32 seats are considered to be more favourably biased towards the BJP than the incumbent Chief Minister. However that is not why it garners so much interest today. It is because more than 3600 polling stations in the region are in naxal areas. It includes 1,639 in Gaya, 666 in Aurangabad, 494 in Rohtas, 370 in Jehanabad, 329 in Arwal and 131 in Kaimur (Bhabhua) . Incidentally this last constituency shares its borders with Uttar Pradesh. In the Lok Sabha polls last year BJP emerged winner in 18 of the seats here while Upendra Kushwaha’s Rashtriya Lok Samata Party also had some winners including him.
No wonder then the BJP has fielded 16 seats while the allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), RLSP and HAM have fielded 3, 6 and 7 candidates, respectively from this region. From the opposition alliance of JD (U), RJD and Congress, JD(U) ans RJD are contesting 13 seat seach and Congress has fielded 6 seats.
For most alliances, the bet is on the significantly high OBC vote bank of the region. While Jehanabad, Gaya and Arwal have a Yadav majority, it will be surely the testing ground for the grand Nitish Lalu alliance. Even from Ram Vilas Paswan, Jitan Majhi and Upendra Kushwaha it is the hour of reckoning and a test of their actual popularity in these region.
Though voter turnouts has been nothing to write home about and one cane bomb had to be disposed off in the Rafigunj region, Para-military forces are already in control of the area and no incident of violence has been reported thus far.
The question therefore is will the Naxals hold their peace and will BJP be able to emulate its 2014 performance in the region? Guess it is wait and watch time for us!