Here dusk beckons darkness! Adults, children, and cattle who would have ventured outside during the day, would try to come back home at the earliest because there is no electricity to light up the bumpy roads. Welcome to Nanaur village in the Ara Lok Sabha constituency, where a pall of darkness covers the entire village, as electricity has not reached here during Nitish Kumar's sushashan in Bihar.
"There is no electricity in the village. The poles were installed last year, but there is no electricity yet," rues Pratima Sharma of the village.
There are no electric poles and at least a dozen candidates, including the former home secretary RK Singh, is promising the people of the villages such as these a bright future. There are seven Vidhan Sabha segments in Ara, namely, Sandesh, Barhara, Ara, Agiaon, Tarari, Jagdishpur and Shahpur.
RK Singh, who is contesting on a BJP ticket from Ara is holding a public meeting a mere five kilometres away from the Nainur village in Sandesh. Villagers, however, prefer to remain inside though owing to bad road conditions and poor public transport.
Residents of 1,244 villages and 228 panchayats totalling about 22 lakh (2001 census) will cast their votes on April 17. The candidates in the fray, apart from Singh, are JD (U)'s Meena Singh who is also the sitting MP at Ara. RJD has given ticket to Bhagwan Kushwaha.
Ara is essentially an upper cast dominated area, where BJP used to contest in alliance with JD (U), and it would be after a long time that the party would be trying its luck all alone. But anger against the Congress and predominant feeling that the JD (U) did the wrong thing by pulling out of the NDA alliance is working in favour of BJP.
While BJP's babu sahib (the way the Rajputs are addressed in Bihar) – R K Singh is likely to get support from about 2,73,000 Rajputs in the constituency, and 1,63,000 Brahmins, and 1,54,000 Bhumihars, a strong presence of about 3.10 lakh Yadav in the constituency will make the contest very interesting between the BJP and RJD.
While the voting has been taking place in the area on caste basis and development is not an electoral issue, critical issues dogging the area have taken a backseat even in the election season. Widening of the Patna-Buxor highway, unemployment, poor condition of the Koelwar bridge over Sone river connecting Ara and Patna have lost in the din.