Gaya is one of the 40 parliamentary constituencies in Bihar. A seat reserved for Scheduled Caste, Gaya Lok Sabha constituency comprises of six Vidhan Sabha segments, namely Sherghati, Barachatti, Bodh Gaya, Gaya Town, Belaganj and Wazirganj. Of the 40 seats in Bihar, 34 are unreserved seats and 6 are reserved for Scheduled Caste candidates.
In the 2014 election, Bharatiya Janata Party's Hari Manjhi defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal's Ramji Manjhi by 115504 votes on the Gaya seat. The seat saw an overall voter turnout of 53.93 per cent which included 51.40 per cent female and 56.21 per cent male voters. Overall, Bihar had witnessed a turnout of 56.28 per cent in the 2014 Lok Sabha election.
There are reports that former Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, who quit the NDA and joined the Mahagatbandhan, has likely been offered the Gaya seat to contest the election. However, Manjhi has said that he is unwilling to accept just one seat for his party Hindustani Awam Morcha in the Grand alliance. He even said that his party will contest alone in 20 of 40 seats if they are not given a respectable share of seats.
In 1952 election, Congress leader Satyendra Narayan Sinha won from Gaya East while Praja Socialist Party's Vijneshwar Missir won the Gaya seat. In the 1957 and 1962 elections, Congress leader Brajeshwar Prasad won on the seat while in 1967, Congress leader Ram Dhani Das won it. Ishwar Chaudhary won in 1971 and 1977 elections, first for the Jan Sangh and later for the Janata Party. In 1980 and 1984, Congress's Ram Swaroop Ram won the polls while in 1989, Janata Dal's Ishwar Chaudhary won.
The seat went into Janata Dal's kitty in 1991 and 1996 with Rajesh Kumar and Bhagwati Devi emerging as winners respectively. BJP's Krishna Kumar Chaudhari won in 1998 and BJP's Ramji Manjhi won in 1999. In 2004, Rashtriya Janata Dal's Rajesh Kumar Manjhi won before the BJP took over in the 2009 and 2014 elections where Hari Manjhi emerged as the winner.
Gaya features in the list of the 250 districts of the country which are economically dependent. They heavily bank on the government's Backward Regions Grant Fund Programme for its economic privileges.