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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Villagers on Jharkhand-Bihar border cast votes freely for the first time

Villages on Jharkhand-Bihar border in Jharkhand’s Palamu and Chatra districts and Aurangabad district of Bihar have been affected by Maoist violence for decades.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 12:19 IST
Vishal Sharma
Vishal Sharma
Hindustan Times, Daltonganj
lok sabha elections 2019,palamu lok sabha seat,lok sabha elections in jharkhand
Women voters at a polling booth in Garhwa under Palamu Lok Sabha cosntituency during Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand, on Monday, April 29, 2019. (HT Photo )

Locals from nearly half a dozen villagers located close to Jharkhand-Bihar border on Monday voted for the first time since the CPI (Maoists) made inroads in this region in early nineties.

This highly neglected region, part of the Palamu parliamentary constituency, has recently been opened up to outside world after the security forces intervened and set up security camps at strategic locations in 2018.

It is still considered to be highly CPI (Maoists)- affected and the Maoists had been perpetrating repeated acts of violence in Jharkhand’s Palamu and Chatra districts and Aurangabad district of Bihar. The Bihar border is less than one km from this security advanced post manned by the central reserve police force personnel.

Such is the strategic importance of this region falling under the Naudiha police station of Palamu district that the Jharkhand DGP DK Pandey had spent a night here in January to instil confidence in locals’ minds.

Security men patrol in Maoist-affected areas during the first phase of Lok Sabha poll under Palamu parliamentary constituency in Garhwa , on Monday, April 29, 2019. ( HT Photo )

The polling day began with large numbers of voters getting out of home to cast votes. “We do not fear ‘party’ anymore,” said one of the locals, referring to the Maoists as they are locally known, going to vote for the first time in his life. Most of the village youths have never voted out of fear of the Maoists who dictated the terms here for more than thirty years.

This year the district administration also helped the villagers by setting up polling stations at Dagra, Antakala and Chetma, the core of the Maoists’s baston.

Dagra and Antakala recorded a massive turnout of 64 per cent.

“Prior to Maoists’ advent, the voting percentage in this region was meagre 15 to 20 per cent,” informed a villager elder who had also voted in those times.

Also Read | Lok Sabha elections 2019: A turnout bump in Jharkhand’s red belt despite heat

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 12:19 IST

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