The pocket borough of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) patriarch Sibu Soren is all set for arguably Jharkhand’s most intense electoral battle of Battle 2014 with his old nemesis and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief Babulal Marandi.
Marandi, the first chief minister of Jharkhand, threw the hat into the electoral ring against Soren,70, who has represented the parliamentary constituency seven times, four times on the trot.
Polls in Jharkhand will be held in three phases— April 10, 17 and 24. Marandi, the present LS MP from Koderma, had earlier defeated Soren in 1998.
He had retained the seat in 1999 defeating Soren’s wife Rupi.
The rivalry between Soren and Marandi in the seat dates back to 1990 when the latter was a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) member.
Marandi had first entered the contest in 1991 when BJP had fielded him against Soren. He, however, lost the contest to Sibu.
The party again fielded Marandi in the 1996 elections but this time too Marandi came second best.
After Jharkhand’s formation, Marandi became the first chief minister of nascent state. Marandi later fell out with the in 2006 and floated the JVM-P. He contested the Koderma seat under his own party’s banner in 2009 and won.
This will be the first contest between the two arch Santhal rivals since Marandi floated JVM-P after separation from the BJP. Sibu, on the other hand, has represented the seat seven times in 1980, 1989, 1991, 1996, 2002, 2004 and 2008. JMM this time again has reposed faith in Soren and is banking on his charisma.
Speaking shortly after declaration of his name, Babulal Marandi said, “I, as a soldier of the party would abide by the party’s decision. The party has decided to field me to honour wishes of the people of Dumka. I would try to stand up to the faith of people.”
Besides Marandi, JVM-P on Friday also declared its candidate for Godda naming party’s leader in the state assembly Pradeep Yadav.