One of the most important religious places--Deoghar--will go for voting in the fourth phase of the Jharkhand Assembly elections which is scheduled on Monday. The place is famous for Lord Shiva's Baidyanath Jyotirling and no wonder the contest on this seat is going to be interesting.
Deoghar Assembly seat is reserved for the Scheduled Caste category and has three blocks -- Deoghar Sadar, Devipur and Mohanpur. The seat has been so far represented by the candidates residing in the Deoghar Sadar area. Interestingly, voters of the Mohanpur block play 'kingmaker' as the area has comparatively more population than other two blocks.
In 2014 Assembly polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party won the seat first time after its candidate Narayan Das defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal's Suresh Paswan with double margin -- Das got 92,022 votes while Paswan received 46,870.
Paswan had won the seat for the second time in 2009 state polls. Union Home Minister and BJP President Amit Shah reached Deoghar on Saturday and offered prayers at the Baba Baidyanath temple and re-energised the election campaign by addressing a gathering here.
Local people do say that many of their problems have been resolved, but still some persist.
"All the schemes introduced by the Centre and state governments for Deoghar in last five years are appreciable. Das remained active during whole period, but he could have done more. He could bring more schemes," said a businessman, Pawan Sharma.
The women here, on the other hand, have their own problems to share. Rashmi, a housewife, said: "Easy availability of drinking water is still a problem, more efforts should be done in this regard. Apart from locals, thousands of devotees reach here everyday and face this problem".
The RJD has again fielded Suresh Paswan in this election while the BJP has showed faith in Das. Nirmala Bharti, who had contested the 2014 election on a Jharkhand Mukti Morch ticket, is in the fray on a Jharkhand Vikas Morcha ticket. While angry over ticket denial from the Congress, district council deputy chief Santosh Paswan is ready to contest on an All Jharkhand Students Union ticket.
Though, the main competition is believed to be between the RJD and BJP, but differences in the National Democratic Alliance and lack of coordination among the opposition leaders in the grand alliance or Mahagathbandhan may throw up new equations thus affecting the results.
BJP candidate and sitting MLA Narayan Das says that in the last five years, Deoghar's identity has reached the national level. He said that along with big schemes like AIIMS, Airport, Punasi reservoir, a network of roads, bridges and culverts were laid. Approval of Sanskrit University has been granted. Shravani Mela Authority was formed. Apart from this, he claimed that many types of schemes have also been launched here.
RJD candidate Suresh Paswan said: "In these five years, there has been no development. Whatever is being claimed today was done five years ago."
The five-phase Assembly elections for Jharkhand will begin on November 30. The polling will begin at 7 am and conclude at 3 pm. The results will be declared on 23 December.
(With inputs from agencies)