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The Economic Times

Development sets poll mood in these old ‘red corridor’ seats

Union minister RK Singh is seeking re-election on a BJP ticket.
JAHANABAD/ARRAH: Fear is a thing of the past and rangdari (extortion) is over in this area, said local autorickshaw driver Rakesh Kumar in Jahanabad which, along with Arrah on the opposite bank of river Sone, had long been identified as the “red corridor” of Bihar and witnessed ghastly caste war between Maoists and the private militia Ranvir Sena.

“There was a time when sundown meant no activity, and in the dark of the night you could hear the sounds of guns,” said Kumar. “Next morning we would come to know that there was a gun battle and whose turn it was to suffer casualties – the Ranvir Sena or the Maoist groups.”

Arrah and Jahanabad are among the eight constituencies of Bihar where polling will be held in the seventh and final phase of the general election on May 19.

In Jahanabad, the Rasthriya Lok Samta Party (RLSP) dropped the sitting MP, Arun Kumar, but he is contesting as an independent candidate.

The RJD has fielded former MP Surendra Yadav and the JDU has given ticket to Chandeshwar Prasad Chandravanshi. RLSP is part of the RJD-led opposition alliance.

Analysts said that Jahanabad is witnessing a triangular contest. “The constituency has dominant Yadav and Bhumihar votes. However, things are tough for the RJD,” said a political analyst, who did not wish to be identified. “Party chief Lalu Prasad’s eldest son Tej Pratap has fielded Chandra Prakash from the newly floated Lalu-Rabri Morcha. Tej even campaigned for Prakash. The Lok Sabha seat has six assembly constituencies, out of which four are held by the RJD and two by the JDU.”

In Aarah, the RJD, which is spearheading the opposition alliance, has not put up candidates in gratitude to the CPI (ML)’s gesture of not putting up a candidate against Lalu Prasad’s daughter Misa Bharti in Pataliputra parliamentary seat.

There is a direct fight between the right and the Left in this constituency, as Union minister RK Singh is seeking re-election on a BJP ticket while Raju Yadav is the nominee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation).

In 2015 assembly polls, the RJD had won five assembly seats in Arrah parliamentary constituency while the JDU and CPI (ML) won one each. The RJD and JDU had fought the assembly polls together at the time. Now the JDUled government in Bihar is supported by the BJP.
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