Darkness at noon
14 Apr 2009, 2142 hrs IST, Binay Singh, TNN
VARANASI: The Robertsganj Lok Sabha seat (SC) in Sonebhadra district along with other parliamentary constituencies of the country is also going to poll in the first phase of elections on April 16 to form the 15th Lok Sabha.
But irony is that, the largest district of UP having big industries and huge mineral resources, still fails to feed its natives, comprising mostly tribal and dalits. Sonebhadra district is a power hub of the country with many electrical power stations, but about half of its villages are yet to be electrified -it is on the record of district administration.
Sonbehadra, the southern part of eastern UP, is commonly known as 'Sonanchal' (region of gold or Sone river) and 'Urjachal' (region of energy). But, majority of the populace, particularly living in remote areas and deep forests is yet to see the light of development, though to an outsider, it may appear as a prosperous region with broad roads, power plants and industries. For the common man, problems of poverty and unemployment are as pestering as it is anywhere. Besides, the constituency, which boarders with four states including Jharkhand, Bihar, Chhattishgarh and Madhya Pradesh, has been facing a continuous threat from Maoist ultras.
"There are all components of development in this region like thermal power stations of the state and central governments, coal mines and other mineral resources, but the condition of majority of people is the same as it was before the last general election," said Rupesh Kumar, a local of Robertsganj. Most of the houses in rural areas are without electricity supply, though the district generates thousands of mega watts electricity. The common feeling in the region is that the politicians are more interested in winning equations than the real issues for the well being of poor and tribal people.
Hunger, poverty and starvation still prevail among the tribes and dalits in the district. "As many as 18 children died of hunger in Roupe village in 2001-02, and the situation is more or less the same today," said Lenin Raghuvansi of People's Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR). Though ration cards were provided to them after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) took notice of the matter, the people were still half-starved, Lenin claimed.
Now, when the region is going to polls, the leaders and star campaigners of all political parties came to the constituency and addressed election rallies to woo voters in favour of their respective candidates. As many as 10 candidates are in the fray at this seat including Ram Shakal of Bhartiya Janata Party, Pakauri Lal Kole of Samajwadi Party, Ramchandra Tyagi of Bahujan Samaj Party and Ramadhar Joshep of the Congress. There are over 12 lakh voters and majority of them is tribal and dalits.
This seat had been a stronghold of the Congress, which lost to Janata Party in 1977. But, the Congress regained the seat in 1980 and 1984 elections. The BJP opened its account here in 1989 general elections and continued to reign till 1999 except a defeat in 1991. The BSP opened its account in 2004 general election.