Red zone reposes faith in BJP

via published on May 17, 2009

NEW DELHI: BJP may have suffered a severe jolt losing its ground in many pockets, but its base in the naxal-affected areas remains intact. The Red Zone continues to repose faith in the saffron party by giving it the highest number of seats  nine out of 25 this time  in Maoist-dominated constituencies for the third consecutive time.

The party got the best figure (15 out of 25) in the naxal-affected zones in 1999 and continued to dominate the scene in 2004 by getting nine seats. The number has remained the same in 2009. It ally, JD(U) has bagged two seats.

The 2009 results show that BJP has not only won Warangal, Gaya, Hazaribagh, Lohardaga, Bastar, Surguja, Rajnandgaon, Kanker and Balaghat constituencies but also got a higher percentage of votes there as compared to 2004. Its ally JD(U) has won two such seats in Bihar — Aurangabad and Jahanabad.

Although there are some other constituencies which witnessed worrying levels of naxal violence, there were relatively higher number of incidents affecting 20% of police stations  in these 25 seats. The other seats that fall in this category are: Khammam, Karimnagar and Mahabubnagar in Andhra Pradesh; Chatra, Palamau and Singhbhum in Jharkhand; Chimur (Gadchiroli) and Bhandara (Gondia) in Maharashtra; Deogarh, Koraput, Sundargarh and Sambalpur in Orissa; and Bardhaman Purba and Medinipur in West Bengal.

These seats which went in favour of different political parties  Congress (5), BJD (2) and TDP, NCP, CPI, CPM, TRS, JMM, independent (one each) this year.

But, why have the maximum number of naxal-affected constituencies repeatedly gone in favour of BJP? An expert on the issue, D Bandopadhyay, attributed this to naxals’ call to boycott polls before every general election and BJP’s successful attempt to counter the Christian missionaries’ alleged proselytizing exercise in the tribal-dominated areas across the country — be it Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

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