As the nation witness the fourth phase of Lok Sabha elections 2019 on Monday, polling is being conducted in the Jagodih area at booth number 249 in Palamu district of Jharkhand for the first time. 30 kilometres away from Palamu district headquarters, Jagodih, surrounded by jungles and hill was a heartland of Maoists. A Maoist group called Tritya Prastuti Committee a had its stronghold for the many years.
While talking to news agency ANI, a voter named Parshuram said that the fear of Maoists has ended but travelling is a problem due to lack of development in the area. He also added that earlier there was fear of Maoists but now the area has been comparatively peaceful. He said:
"Even though there is no fear of Maoists here, the only problem is that this polling booth is very difficult to reach. This time there is no fear of Maoists which was there five years ago. However, the polling booth is at very far off location."
Three Lok Sabha constituencies in Jharkhand - Chatra, Lohardaga and Palmu are polling on April 29.
In the fourth phase, from different political parties, 26 candidates are contesting from Chatra, 14 candidates from Lohardaga and 19 candidates from Palamu.
Earlier, Jharkhand chief Electoral Officer L Khiangte in a press conference said that there are a total 45,26,693 electorate for Lohardaga, Chatra and Palamu Lok Sabha seats and 6,072 polling stations for the three seats going for polls on Monday from 7 am to 4 pm. A total 25,727 polling personnel have reached their polling centres while some personnel deputed at 137 polling stations were airdropped as their destinations are situated in remote areas, he said. Due to security reasons, Khiangte added, a total 132 polling stations were relocated with the consent of political parties and candidates
Among the contestants, Union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Sudarshan Bhagat is seeking re-election from the Lohardaga seat. He is pitted against Sukhdeo Bhagat, Congress MLA and Mahagathbandhan candidate. In Palamu, contest is between the BJP and the 'Mahagathbandhan' (grand alliance). Former Jharkhand police chief and BJP candidate Vishnu Dayal Ram is facing challenge from RJD's Ghuram Ram, supported by the Mahagathbandhan, comprising Congress, JMM and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik). The RJD has fielded Subhas Yadav in Chatra, resulting in a contest with the Congress nominee, Manoj Yadav. The BJP has re-nominated its sitting MP Sunil Kumar Singh from the seat. Senior BJP leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and party president Amit Shah had campaigned asking the people to re-elect the NDA to take forward the developmental works and protect the country's security. However, no prominent national level leader of the opposition parties had campaigned in the three seats.