Congress leaders and workers were left shell-shocked after the leadership propped up a turncoat — a former BJP MP — to represent the party in the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls from Singhbhum, situated in the southern part of Jharkhand.
The high command on Sunday named Chitrasensingh Sinku as the party’s candidate for Singhbhum, where elections will be held on April 17.
Sinku, who had last won in 1996 but lost the panchayat elections in 2010, joined the Congress last year. Two former Congress MPs — Bagun Sumbrui and Durga Prasad Jamuda (Rajya Sabha) — are said to have played a major role in convincing the high command in favour of Sinku.
What has angered a section of the Congress is the fact that the high command chose Sinku over Devendra Nath Champia, two-time minister in undivided Bihar, former Speaker and four-time MLA.
Champia was in the race of the party ticket as was old-timers like Nevlal Honhaga and Ranjan Boipai. Champia, general secretary of the party’s state committee, expressed disappointment over the denial of ticket.
“Many are feeling neglected and disheartened by the decision. However, in the interest of the party, we have to abide by the leadership’s decision.” Another leader, who spoke on condition of anonymity said, that the move would turn out to be “suicidal” for the party.
“The party has lost the seat even before the battle,” he claimed. Besides five-time MP Bagun Sumbrui it was late Vijay Singh Soi, who had won the seat for Congress in 1998.
Interestingly, Soi had defeated Sinku, who was the BJP candidate then. Bagun Sumbrui (90) said that there was a history of Congress of giving ticket to outsiders joining the party just before an election. Sukhdeo Hembrom was given an assembly election ticket from Chakradharpur and Banna Gupta from Jamshedpur West in 2009, he added.
He, however, defended, his move to back Sinku.
“The Congress has won the Singhbhum seat for five times without a tie-up with any other party. This time, election the party is contesting with an alliance of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Rastriya Janata Dal. We will win the seat,” he said.