Jehanabad: Despite the state government boasting of smooth roads connecting every nook and corner of Bihar, this is one constituency where people still fear to tread. Living under the shadow of ultra Left fear, elections are not synonymous with accountability for them.
Jehanabad, which derives its name from the Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s sister Jehan Ara, is now a picture of recurrent drought, industrial backwardness and social tension, all attributed to bitter factional politics in the region. Once known as the ‘Karmabhoomi’ of the legendary peasants’ leader Swami Sahajanand Saraswati, it later earned notoriety for caste wars and a chain of revenge killings.
Going by the lack of basic amenities in the region, let alone the accoutrements that should have characterized a highly problematic constituency like Jehanabad, it appears that the electorates in this constituency have been punished for their unflinching loyalties to their leaders. In spite of sending several high profile leaders to Parliament, they continue to suffer in the absence of assured irrigational facilities, electricity, roads and other basic amenities.
Potholed roads are a good enough indicator that you have entered the district. And what stares a visitor to the district headquarters town is heaps of garbage along the main roads and a seemingly unending row of vehicles stuck in jams on NH 83. Except for Jehanabad-Ghosi state highway, most of the roads in this parliamentary constituency, including NH 110, Jehanabad-Kurtha road, Kinjar-Karpi road, Sahar Telpa- Deokund road and Mehandia-Haspura road are in extremely bad condition.
Despite the state government claiming turnaround in various sectors, Jehanabad and Arwal still remain zero-industry districts. Electricity still keeps making ‘guest appearances’ in most parts of the countryside.
Electrification eludes more than 50% of the villages in the constituency. On education front, groups of children squatting on the ground in ‘makeshift classrooms’ are still a familiar sight in Jehanabad and Arwal towns. Health facilities are scarce. The district hospitals in the two districts are nothing more than referral hospitals. Let alone major cases, even minor cases are referred to Patna or Gaya.
Spread over three districts and comprising six assembly constituencies, the Jehanabad Lok Sabha constituency promises a triangular tussle among the NDA-supported RLSP candidate Arun Kumar, RJD’s Surendra Prasad Yadav and JD (U) nominee Anil Kumar Sharma. The old rivals — Arun Kumar and Surendra — are pitted against each other for the fourth time.