The fate of three former Jharkhand chief ministers - Sibu Soren (JMM), Arjun Munda (BJP) and Madhu Koda (Independent) — will be decided when eight constituencies cast the vote on Thursday.
The JMM is facing a real threat. Soren, who lost the Tamar bypoll recently, is not sure of winning from his traditional seat of Dumka, while Munda is giving stiff competition to sitting JMM MP Suman Mahto in Jamshedpur. Koda is tilling a lone furrow in Singhbhum, where sitting Congress MP Bagun Sumbrui is facing stiff contest from BJP's Barkuar Gagrai.
It's a do or die for Soren, who is also contesting the assembly by-election in Jamtara.
A total of 164 candidates, including eight women, are in fray in the second phase.
The eight seats, which will go to polls, are Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Singhbhum (ST), Dhanbad, Giridih, Dumka (ST), Godda and Rajmahal (ST). Except in Ranchi, where Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai is locked in a direct fight with BJP’s Ram Tahal Choudhary, the rest are set to witness multi-cornered contests.
In 2004, the JMM and Congress had won four seats each out of the eight, which go to polls on Thursday.
For the JMM-Congress combine it will be a litmus test in Santhal Pargana this election, as three seats — Rajmahal, Dumka and Godda — are likely to witness a division of votes.