Singhbhum: Two tribal women faces set to clash - Hindustan Times
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Singhbhum: Two tribal women faces set to clash

By, Jamshedpur
Apr 12, 2024 09:46 PM IST

Interestingly, the Singhbhum seat is among the five Lok Sabha seats in the state where female voters outnumber male voters. The seat has 727,000 female electors against 705,000 male voters out of 1.4 million electors.

Singhbhum parliamentary seat in Jharkhand has come under the spotlight with two tribal women candidates - BJP’s Geeta Kora and JMM’s Joba Majhi - locking horns for the first time in history. Polling will be held for the seat on May 25.

Geeta Kora has the advantage of support from the Ho community, who constitute 56% of the 30% voters in Singhbhum constituency (HT Photo)
Geeta Kora has the advantage of support from the Ho community, who constitute 56% of the 30% voters in Singhbhum constituency (HT Photo)

Interestingly, the Singhbhum seat is among the five Lok Sabha seats in the state where female voters outnumber male voters. The seat has 727,000 female electors against 705,000 male voters out of 1.4 million electors.

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None of the women candidates, however, are political novices - Geeta Kora entered politics after her husband, former state CM Madhu Koda, landed in jail in 2009, while Joba Majhi was forced into politics after her husband, the late Devendra Majhi, was murdered in Goilkera by political rivals on October 14, 1994.

Madhu Koda and his wife, Geeta Kora, coming from the dominant Ho community in West Singhbhum district, are considered to have developed political clout - almost making the seat their fiefdom since Madhu Koda became an MLA for the first time in 2000 from Jagannathpur.

Madhu Koda went on to become the country’s first independent chief minister when he served Jharkhand from September 19, 2006, to August 27, 2008. In 2009, Koda won the Singhbhum LS seat as an independent candidate despite being under the scanner for a 4,000 crore mining scam.

After he went to jail, Geeta Kora took over his political legacy and became an MLA for the first time from Jagannathpur in 2009 as a Jai Bharat Samanta Party candidate.

She lost the 2014 Lok Sabha polls to BJP’s Laxman Gilua during the nationwide ‘Modi Wave’ but defeated Gilua as a Congress candidate in 2019 amidst the same ‘Modi Wave.’

Geeta Kora has the advantage of support from the Ho community, who constitute 56% of the 30% tribal voters in the Singhbhum parliamentary constituency. She is also popular among non-tribals and urban people - especially among Oriya-speaking people as she hails from Odisha.

Her husband Devendra Majhi was considered the brain behind the ‘Jal (water), Jungle (forest), and Jameen (land)’ movement in the Kolhan estate area in the 80s when Shibu Soren was fighting against the Mahajani (loan sharks) business of lending at high interest in Santhal Pargana. He was elected MLA first from Chakradharpur from Manoharpur and again from Manoharpur in 1985.

It is this Manoharpur assembly seat that five-time MLA Joba Majhi has been representing since 1995. She lost the Manoharpur seat to BJP only once in 2009. Joba merged Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (Democratic), founded by her slain husband, with JMM in 2014.

She was a minister in the Rabri Devi government in undivided Bihar, the first Jharkhand government led by former chief minister Babulal Marandi, the Arjun Munda government, the Madhu Koda government, Sibu Soren government, and in the erstwhile Hemant Soren government.

However, She failed to get a ministerial berth only in the Raghubar Das government and the incumbent Champai Soren government.

The biggest assembly segment with the highest number of electors under the Singhbhum LS seat is Seraikela, represented by incumbent CM Champai Soren, a four-time MLA.

Champai is a Santhal, while Chakradharpur MLA Sukhram Oraon comes from the Oraon tribe.

According to leaders close to the developments, Champai has called party workers’ meetings on April 13 and 14, giving a clear message that Joba may be the candidate, but it is his prestige at stake. Ironically, a delegation of the Adivasi Ho Samaj Ranchi unit met the CM, demanding replacing Job Majhi with a Ho candidate on April 10.

JMM has fielded its candidate from the seat after a gap of 25 years after its candidate, Joba Majhi, lost the MP poll in 1999.

Krishna Mardi was the first and only JMM MP from the Singhbhum seat who had won it in 1991. BJP had won the seat for the first time in 1996 with Chitrasen Sinku, who is contesting as a Jharkhand Party (JP) candidate this time in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

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