Posters with slogans such as ‘Mitegi Mehangai Ki Maar, AJSU Party Iss Baar’ are plastered all over Ranchi. The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) is going all out to give the BJP, riding a Modi wave, a tough fight in this constituency which has traditionally been a straight contest between the Congress and the BJP.
AJSU, which has only six MLAs in the 82-member state assembly, is not only competing with the saffron party, but giving a tough fight to BJP veteran Ram Tahal Chaudhary, who is banking heavily on the Modi wave to see him through.
AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto, 39, a former deputy chief minister, has unabashedly copied the BJP’s slogan and projected himself as the son of the soil and agent of change.
“The BJP can seek votes in Modi’s name but it is the local leader who is responsible for bringing about a change. And people have given enough chances to the BJP and seen the result. This time people will vote for change --the real change,” Mahto told HT.
Whether people vote for “real change” will only be known on May 16 when the results are out, but Mahto’s Lok Sabha debut has certainly made the Ranchi contest — a Congress-BJP affair since 1989 — a triangular one.
Ranchi, which goes to the polls on Thursday, has voted for the BJP’s Chaudhary four times (1991, 1996, 1998, 1999) and for Congress candidate Subodh Kant Sahai thrice (1989, 2004 and 2009).
Political analysts here said Mahto’s advantage is his popularity among the youth and women for whom he has brought several schemes while in government.
“As a rural development minister he has worked to strengthen self-help groups and also connects well with the youth who identify with his progressive ideas,” said Ranchi-based social scientist Hareshwar Dayal.
Dayal however believes that Chaudhary, despite his lacklustre personality and advanced age — he is 80 — could still emerge as the winner.
The third candidate, Subodh Kant Sahai of the Congress is unlikely to complete his hat-trick.