Will Ara repeat saffron or Red?
New Delhi, May 18: Ara Parliamentary constituency is one of the eight seats in Bihar that will vote in the seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
The other seats are: Nalanda, Patna Sahib, Pataliputra, Buxar, Sasaram, Karakat, and Jehanabad.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has repeated its sitting Ara MP and Union Minister R.K. Singh and he is pitted against the Communist Party of India, Marxist-Leninist [CPI-ML] (Liberation) candidate Raju Yadav.
The politics in Ara Lok Sabha has revolved around the age-old fight between forward and backward castes.
Singh is representing forward castes and Yadav the backwards. It's notable that the BJP managed to win the Lok Sabha seat for the first time in 2014 since 1952.
To better understand the politics of Ara, one needs to open the pages of history.
The flames of Naxalism reached Ekwari village of Ara from West Bengal's Naxalbari in the early Seventies when Maoists, mostly drawn from the Dalit community, killed Bhumihar landlord Shankh Singh.
The CPI-ML (Liberation), then an underground Maoist group, waged armed struggle against landlords. The group was involved in massacres of upper caste landlords.
In reply, upper-caste Bhumihar and Rajput landlords formed a private army called Ranvir Sena in 1994 in Ara, with the aim to counter the influence of various left-wing militants, Naxalite groups and CPI-ML (Liberation).
Ranvir Sena was involved in the infamous massacres like Lakshmanpur-Bathe in Jehahanabad in which 61 Dalits were killed.
Brahmeshwar Singh 'Mukhiya', the founder chief of the Ranvir Sena, was the Supreme Commander of the oufit until he was arrested in Patna on August 29, 2002.
On 8 July 2011, Brahmeshwar Singh was released on bail after serving 9 years in jail. However, he was killed by unidentified gunmen in Ara town on June 1, 2012 when he was on a morning walk.
Before being killed, Brahmeshwar Singh floated a non-political outfit called Akhil Bharatiya Rashtravadi Kisan Sangathan on May 05, 2012.
However, the CPI-ML (Liberation) had launched its political face called Indian People's Front (IPF) way back in 1982 and won the Ara Lok Sabha seat in 1989.
Eventually, the CPI-ML itself became overground and turned into a full-fledged political party fighting Assembly and parliamentary elections.
However, the bloody violence between forwards and backwards has stopped. Now, both sections of the society express themselves through ballot instead of bullet.
The CPI-ML (Liberation) candidate Raju Yadav is backed by Lalu Prasad Yadav-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and other allies of the Grand Alliance to check the division of anti-BJP votes.
Ara is the only constituency that has been spared for the CPI-ML (Liberation) by the RJD from its quota of 20 seats in the Grand Alliance (GA) considering both the caste and class equations.
BJP candidate RK Singh is fighting the election on the face of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as well as his clean image.
He has got the support of upper caste Rajputs, Bhumihars, Brahmins and other non-Dalit classes.
Indu Bhusan, the son of Ranvir Sena founder Brahmeshwar Singh, didn't contest Lok Sabha election from Ara and extended support to RK Singh. That support is still there.
The other factor that may help RK Singh is that there are fissures in the Grand Alliance over the candidature of Raju Yadav.
The Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP), one of the GA members, has not liked RJD extending support to the CPI-ML (Liberation) as it has fielded a candidate against RSLP Chief Upendra Kushwaha in Karakat.
Ara Parliamentary constituency has seven Assembly segments and not a single seat is with the BJP. While the RJD has five MLAs, CPI- ML (liberation) and Janata Dal (United) have 01 MLA each.
The big question is: will Ara repeat Saffron or not.