(Alok Pandey is a chief correspondent with NDTV)
It has been a month on the road now. I have been shifting from one part of Jharkhand to the other, covering the five-phase Assembly elections here, a state with just 81 assembly seats but also a state where one single party has almost never had an absolute majority government.
In Jharkhand's 14-year existence, much has become worse, in an area that was already underdeveloped in undivided Bihar.
And even after covering this region for over 5 years, some things never cease to amaze me. For instance, the absence of even functional primary healthcare centres as our NDTV team travelled into the interiors of Latehar's manika block, ahead of the first phase of polls. I remember travelling in Palamu a few years ago to cover a drought, and transporting a heavily pregnant lady from an interior village to a hospital 35 kms away. Yes, 35 kms for a delivery. That, in a nutshell, is Jharkhand for you.
Or take Godda. An area full of coal and mines -- yet also a place that is fast becoming infamous as Jharkhand's child trafficking hotspot. I travelled here just days ago, to track 100 odd children who were rescued from Kerala's orphanages 6 months ago, and promised a better life, and education. But 6 months on, sans the media headlines, I found that all government promises, almost all, have vanished into thin air.
In this atmosphere, the BJP and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, former allies and now political foes, have led a high-decibel campaign against each other. One statement by the BJP's star campaigner, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made repeatedly at rallies has stayed with me. "Give us a majority and we will give you development," he said, adding "unlike those who have ruled here in the last 14 years."
But here's a statistic - in the 14 years of its existence, Jharkhand has seen maximum years of rule by the BJP.
The party argues that most of its governments were in partnership with difficult coalition partners, but to me, it sums up what's wrong in Jharkhand, and its politics.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this blog are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing on the blog do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.