Political atmosphere has hot up in the neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan district, with the Jharkhand Chief Minister Arjun Munda and his first predecessor Babulal Marandi leading the campaigning of rival camps for the prestigious by-election in Kharsawan (ST) assembly constituency.
While Munda, who himself is a combined candidate of the state’s ruling coalition of BJP-JMM-JD(U)-AJSU Party, leading the campaigning of ruling camp; the Jharkhand’s first chief minister Babulal Marandi is leading the opposition camp.
Marandi is campaigning for the opposition’s consensus candidate and JVM (P) nominee Dasrath Gagrai alias Krishna Gagrai, who has support of the Congress and the National Jharkhandi Alliance (NJA), a six-party conglomerate of regional tribal-backed parties.
Besides Munda and Marandi; several ministers of Munda cabinet and senior leaders of almost all political parties are camping in Kharsawan, about 45 km from here, in order to woo voters in favour of their respective candidates.
The by-election is very significant for the state’s politics, as it would decide whether Munda would continue to hold the post of chief minister after its results on February 17.
The polling for the Kharsawan by-polls would be held on February 10, while counting of votes would begin in the morning of February 17.
While Marandi is addressing three or four public meetings in a day and urging people to ensure victory of the JVM (P) candidate Krishna Gagrai; Munda, instead of addressing big rallies, is preferring visiting door-to-door in remote villages to seek support for his fourth election from Kharsawan. Munda, accompanied by local BJP leaders, is covering 12 to 15 villages in a day.
As Munda has represented Kharsawn thrice in the past, he knows most of the voters, even in remote villages, by their names. Instead of requesting for votes from villagers, Munda is preferring enquiring about their health, family matter and local issues.
“Why should I ask for vote from my own people? I am not in the fray. In fact, public of Kharsawan is contesting this by-election on my behalf,” Munda told Hindustan Times.
“The voters of Kharsawan were intelligent enough. They have to choose between a chief minister and an MLA,” said the BJP State President Dineshanand Goswami, who is confident of Munda’s victory.