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Saffron flag flies high in Red zone

Saffron flag flies high in Red zone

Author: Team TOI
Publication: The Times of India
Date: May 17, 2009

The BJP may have suffered a severe jolt losing its ground in many pockets, but its base in the Naxal-affected areas remains intact. The Red Zone continues to repose faith in the saffron party by giving it the highest number of seats-nine out of 25 this time-in Maoist-dominated constituencies for the third consecutive time. The party got the best figure (15 out of 25) in the Naxalaffected zones in 1999 and continued to dominate the scene in 2004 by getting nine seats. The number has remained the same in 2009. Its ally, the JD(U) has bagged two seats.

The 2009 results show that the BJP has not only won Warangal, Gaya, Hazaribagh, Lohardaga, Bastar, Surguja, Rajnandgaon, Kanker and Balaghat constituencies but also got a higher percentage of votes there as compared to 2004.

But, why have the maximum number of Naxal-affected constituencies repeatedly gone in favour of the BJP? An expert on the issue, D Bandopadhyay, attributed this to Naxals' call to boycott polls before every general election and the BJP's successful attempt to counter the Christian missionaries' alleged proselytizing exercise in the tribal-dominated areas across the country-be it Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh.

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