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Electoral Battle for Jamui Seat Unlikely to Prove Cakewalk for Either NDA or I.N.D.I.A

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By Avijit Biswas

Jamui/Bhagalpur: For anyone well acquainted with area comprising Jamui reserved parliamentary seat on a revisit could fell the changes that have taken place here in last five years. Even in late evening hours now movement of people could be witnessed on roads in remote rural areas of district. With thin movement of people, the roads in rural areas earlier used to bear deserted look after dusk.

Quite a vast area of the constituency comprised by six assembly segments namely Jhajha, Chakai, Jamui, Sikandra, Tarapur and Sheikhpura was red stronghold earlier. The area of Jamui district constituting major portion of parliamentary seat, had been witness to many incidents of extremist violence in past.

Extremism on wane here of late, things have changed for better. The road connectivity besides power position in constituency area has improved substantially. The livelihood problems of people however by and large remain unresolved. Agriculture continues to remain mainstay of economy of Jamui district in absence of industrialization.

Due to lack of proper irrigation facilities desired agricultural growth has not been possible in the area, people dependent on agriculture feel in most cases. The list of positives and negatives in development front effecting common people is long. However, this constituency going to polls in first phase is unlikely to witness battle of ballots on issue of development.

Naresh Murmu, a farmer of Madhupur village located in remote Chakai block of district informed life of people has not changed for better in his village in last five years. He said primarily dependent on rain fed irrigation for agriculture, approximately ninety percent population in his village is compelled to migrate to bigger cities every year for livelihood. Education and health facilities in his village is far from satisfactory, Murmu added.

 Of the view core problems particularly, those related to agriculture remains unaddressed Murmu said though chances of voting on caste line remains high however possibility of development issues influencing outcome of election cannot be ruled out totally

 The caste line affiliations of political parties besides extent of effectivity of Modi magic in all likelihood is expected to decide outcome of the political battle here. Though total seven candidates are contesting here however it is largely felt the constituency would witness a straight contest between LJP candidate Arun Bharati and RJD candidate Archana Kumari. Interestingly the candidates of both major political parties are first timers in election fray.

While LJP candidate is brother-in-law of Chirag Paswan, party chief, the RJD candidate is wife of a party leader active in Munger and Jamui district. LJP chief who is sitting MP from this constituency has opted to contest from Hajipur Lok Sabha seat this time. Having fielded his brother-in-law from this seat much would be at stake for him so far ensuring victory of party candidate is concerned.

An MBA Arun Bharati is married to sister of Chirag Paswan.  With perceptible anti-incumbency factor working against outgoing LJP MP Chirag Paswan, the electoral success of present LJP candidate would depend much on charisma of PM Modi and caste line consolidation of votes in favour of party.

However, having successfully contested from this constituency in 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections, knowledge of Chirag Paswan about geo political situation of constituency could be advantage for his brother-in-law. A native of Jamui district for Archana Kumari, RJD candidate her local tag could be of advantage. 

With chances of more caste and communal line consolidation of votes in favour of major political combinations, electorates here in number of cases feel there is strong probability it would be close finish this time. The likely caste and communal line support for NDA and I.N.D.I.A is referred by electorates who are of the opinion that both alliances are evenly poised in electoral battle here.

 In a direct contest with RLSP in 2019 general election LJP had secured 55.76% of total votes while RLSP had secured 30.34 % of total votes. Earlier in 2014 parliamentary election the major contenders LJP and RJD had respectively secured 18.4% and 12.86% of total votes.

Manoj Paswan of village Madhavpur in Chakai block, a member of local Farmers Producers Organization (FPO), corroborating inadequate irrigation facilities is major impediment in agriculture growth in Jamui however said compared to past there has been some increase in rain water storage facilities besides some dead water sources have been also revived in his area in recent years.

  Paswan felt road connectivity and power supply position has also improved considerably due to state government efforts. However, he was not sure whether these good works could ensure electoral verdict in favour of NDA candidate.

Talking about inadequate irrigation facilities, Kishore Jaiswal, a watershed development activist of Munger and Bhagalpur division said Jamui parliamentary constituency comprised by areas of Jamui district and adjoining Tarapur and Haveli Kharagpur subdivisions of Munger district primarily have agrarian population. Most of the terrain is part of Chhota Nagpur plateau with degraded forest cover, he added.

Jaiswal said adequate irrigation facilities and access to improved agriculture technology are major concern of the community. Through watershed development projects and watershed area development initiatives efforts have been made by NABARD and state government to deal with the problem, he added.

 Prof Ranvijay Singh a teacher of psychology department in KKM College felt despite strong developmental issues ultimately it is caste line vote polarization in favour of political parties that would have bearing on poll outcome. At present both political combinations NDA and I.N.D.I.A seems to be evenly placed if caste support of the political parties is taken into consideration, he felt.

Alok Kumar Singh, a native of Simultalla in Jhajha block of Jamui district felt electoral prospect of NDA candidate would depend much on Modi wave apart from caste line consolidation of votes in favour of the alliance.

Taking into consideration in 2019 election RLSP candidate had secured more than two lakh votes in direct contest with LJP candidate, it is unlikely electoral battle would be cake walk for any of the two major political combinations this time, Singh anticipated.

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  • Writer Avijit Biswas, former principal correspondent of Hindustan Times Bhagalpur bureau, can be contacted at biswasavijit@yahoo.comContact number (mobile): +919431095516

 

 

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