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HindustanTimes Wed,01 Oct 2014

Party workers not sure if Bhagat can defend Lohardaga

Gautam Mazumdar, Hindustan Times  Ranchi, April 05, 2014
First Published: 15:42 IST(5/4/2014) | Last Updated: 16:05 IST(5/4/2014)

Wading the eddy currents within the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) that was planning to replace its candidate from Lohardaga, the sitting MP Sudarshan Bhagat finally got the party ticket.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/popup/2014/4/jkhand-2.jpg

He is in the fray, trying his luck for the second time from the remote constituency bordering Chhattisgarh and Odisha.

The leaders within the BJP opposed to his candidature were of the idea that it would be difficult for the party to defend the seat if Bhagat was made the party candidate.

They underscored Bhagat's shortcomings being a MP and mentioned that he had won only by a margin of little over 14,000 votes.

Bhagat, a soft spoken leader, failed to toe the expectations of the state leadership and could not drive home his point despite being a successful Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) leader.

He did not nurture any lobby as well and could not leave a trail as active parliamentarian as well.

An agriculturist and social worker, Bhagat's political career began during his college days in Gumla.

He became an active ABVP worker in the nineties.

He was made ABVP state joint secretary in undivided Bihar.

He was also active with Vanvasi Kalyan Kendra, a frontal organisation of the RSS and joined active politics in the year 1995.

Bhagat became a BJP legislator in 2000 and was inducted in the Babulal Marandi government when Jharkhand was curved out of Bihar in 2000.

He was shifted to the chief minister's office when Arjun Munda succeeded Marandi and given the independent charge of the CMO office.

In 2004, he was made welfare minister of the state.

Being a minister, he initiated several schemes for the tribal students.

Strong RSS backing thus swept aside his deficiencies in the sideline and the apex BJP leadership reposed faith on former state minister Sudarshan Bhagat.

However, it will be a tough job ahead for Bhagat to romp home second time from Lohardaga that is likely to witness a triangular contest among the known faces – former Union minister Rameshwar Oraon of Congress and Chamra Linda (Trinamool).

Last time, Bhagat had won mainly due to the split in Congress vote bank dented by independent candidate Chamra Linda, who polled 1.36 lakh votes and finished third.
Linda is in the fray with Trinamool Congress ticket this time.

Oraon had appealed the returning officer to cancel Linda's candidature on the ground of holding an office of profit.

Linda, supporting the state government, has been appointed chairman of Tenughat Vidyut Nigam Limited.

The returning officer, however, found it ok during scrutiny and Linda remains in fray.

Birendra Bhagat - JVM (P), Lal Sai Kumar Bhagat – CPI (M-L) and Jayram Induwar – BSP are the other prominent candidates.

The former state minister became MP first time from Lohardaga in 2009, after defeating Rameshwar Oraon of Congress.

The Lohardaga Lok Sabha constituency had been a Congress stronghold that gradually went to the BJP in the nineties.

The Congress and BJP won the seat in rotation from 1998 onward.


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