Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Red block in rural campaign

Jamshedpur, April 1: With only weeks to go for the parliamentary elections in Jamshedpur, not a single candidate has tapped the rural belt here.

Fear of a Naxalite attack has so far kept star campaigners and candidates away from the interiors of Ghatshila, while Patamda and Potka wear a deserted look.

The streets of densely-populated Galudih in Ghatshila, too, missed out on the election buzz as none of the candidates in the fray for the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat has set up any party office here.

Former MP and JMM leader Sunil Mahto was gunned down by Naxalites two years ago in Galudih.

“We are aware that the Lok Sabha elections are round the corner, but the kind of activity that would be seen during the electioneering days earlier is absent this year,” said Sadashiv Murmu, a resident of Baguria village in Galudih.

Murmu, who is a teacher of a government primary school at Galudih, claimed that the leaders of political parties are not interested to visit Galudih or any other place in the interiors of Ghatshila.

“Maybe the JMM, BJP and Ajsu leaders apprehend threat to their while campaigning in Ghatshila interiors, but the reluctance of people to visit places like Galudih will take a toll on the development of the villages,” said Murmu.

Subodh Paramanik, a resident of Kesharpur, revealed that voters of this region may feel alienated from the election process if the trend continues.

“It is just not a candidate’s prospects that go up by campaigning in these villages. The voters living here also stand to gain later as the successful candidate has to fulfil his or her promises,” said Paramanik.

Of the total 13.5 lakh voters in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency, only five lakh voters are from the urban areas under Jamshedpur East and West constituencies.

The rest of the voters hail from the rural areas spread across four Assembly segments, namely Ghatshila, Bahragora, Potka and Patamda-Jugsalai.

The prominent candidates for the elections include Arjun Munda, Suman Mahto, Shailendra Mahto and Arvind Singh.

Only Munda had addressed a public meeting at Ghatshila, but the area was inside Ghatshila township.

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