Sitting Palamu MP Kameshwar Baitha, once the CPI(Maoist) zonal commander of the area, is contesting the Palamu reserved seat with his back on the ropes this time.
Kameshwar Baitha. (HT Photo)
The sitting JMM MP, who sprang surprise by winning the seat in 2009 from jail, finds himself on a slippery patch as JMM decided not to contest the seat. The party supported the Congress-backed RJD nominee Manoj Kumar Bhiyan instead.
Baitha tried to get the BJP ticket and had altercations with the party leaders who had given him hopes as it became apparent that he is not the choice. The BJP has fielded former DGP Vishnu Dayal Ram from this seat.
Baitha didn’t waste any time and joined the Trinamool Congress. The regional party of West Bengal that nurtures the ambition of becoming a national party lapped him up making him the Trinamool nominee from Palamu.
Others among the prominent in the fray are JD(U) candidate Jorawar Ram and JVM(P) candidate Ghuran Ram. The AJSU Party has fielded Amit Ranjan, while Sushma Mehta is the CPI(ML) candidate.
A former CPI(Maoist) leader, Baitha had 46 criminal cases pending against him when the electorates voted him to the parliament in 2009.
This zonal commander of the CPI(Maoist) has inadvertently created a sort of history becoming one of the MPs with most criminal cases registered against them during the 15th Lok Sabha.
Interestingly, Baitha had asked 267 questions in the Parliament during last two and a half years after being released from jail, according to the official website of Lok Sabha.
“I have broken the myth of being a Mauni Baba (a silent sage) by raising over 265 questions mostly related to my constituency in Lok Sabha and also took part in debates. The people will vote for me,” Baitha said.
Baitha had also unsuccessfully contested from Palamu seat reserved for the scheduled caste candidates on BSP ticket in 2007.
Backed by the JMM, Congress and a regional outfit Navjawan Sangharsh Sabha, he defeated Ghuran Ram of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in 2009. Ghuran has been roped in by the JVM(P) this time.