The birthplace of Sita has for years been a Ramrajya — land of prosperity and bliss — in the making. Locals hope it becomes a reality after this election.
The Ramayana link makes Sitamarhi a prestigious assembly seat for the BJP, which lost the seat once (in 2000) to RJD’s Shahid Ali Khan since 1995. Khan is now with the Hindustani Awam Morcha-Secular.
But Sitamarhi came nowhere close to the utopia planned when local BJP legislator Sunil Kumar Pintu was the tourism minister when his party shared power with the JD(U) for eight years. The area recorded the lowest per capita income, sex ratio (932) and urbanisation (5.6%).
This constituency has seen little infrastructure development.
The government had promised the Ramayana Circuit around Janki Sthaan, a temple in district headquarters Sitamarhi, where Sita is believed to have been born. Janki is another name for Sita.
“The parties take great pride in invoking Sitaji and Ramji. But they are as far from them as their assurances are from intent,” Sanjay Kumar, a fruit seller near Janki Sthaan, says.
“The focus of development has been too much on Gaya, Bodh Gaya, Nalanda and Rajgir,” local resident Krishna Pratap Singh says.
Many voters say BJP candidate Pintu, seeking re-election, failed to pursue the tourism project. Others feel Kumar may have vetoed Pintu’s attempts.
Polling in Sitamarhi is scheduled for November 1.