Simmering tension in Maoist-hit Imamganj constituency could well prove a tough challenge for security agencies as it goes to polls in the sixth and last phase of Bihar assembly elections on Saturday. Campaigning will end tomorrow, but the usual hustle-bustle associated with electioneering is conspicuously missing. "There will be no election campaigning in the interiors.
Who will take the risk? Public meetings were held only in block headquarters of Dumaria, Imamganj and Banker Bazar," says Shiv Shankar Singh, a close confidant of Bihar Assembly Speaker Uday Narayan Chaudhary who represents the constituency in the outgoing assembly. Posters calling for poll boycott were found pasted even in Imamganj bazaar a few days back.
The fears are not unfounded. The ultras abducted three JD-U workers included Du maria Block President of the party during campaigning in the first week of this month and and killed one them. JD-U worker Amrendra Prasad's body was thrown in a school campus, about 7 kms from Dumaria police station.
The Maoists had managed to halt voting in Chhakharbandha area even during the last poll which was held under the supervision of K J Rao, the Secretary of the then Chief Election Commissioner. In Chhakharbandha, Arvan and Salaya, polling parties had failed to reach the booths. In Feb 2005 elections, three persons were killed in Dighasin. In the same election, LJP candidate and former Gaya MP Rajesh Manjhi was shot dead by naxalites near Bikua More in the constituency.
Chaudhary has represented this constituency four times since 1990. He scored hat-trick by winning it three times since 2000. Even in 1995, he lost the election with a slender margin to Ramswaroop Paswan. The former JD-U leader, however, has found the going tough this time with Maoists "banning" his entry in the assembly segment.
Ironically, Chaudhary has in the past been accused by his rivals of supporting Maoists. His name was also dragged into the killing former Gaya MP Rajesh Kumar, who was candidate against him in February 2005 Bihar polls on LJP ticket.