Lok Sabha elections 2019: BJP holds all 4 Jharkhand seats going to polls in phase 5
This phase is crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it aims to retain all the four seats it won in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014. A number of high-profile candidates contesting the election also makes this round interesting.Updated: May 05, 2019, 18:52 IST
Around 6.5 million voters in four parliamentary constituencies in Jharkhand will elect their representatives from among 64 candidates contesting in the fifth phase of polling in the Lok Sabha election on May 6.
Voting was conducted in the state in three seats of Palamu, Chatra and Lohardaga, which witnessed a sizeable jump in voter turnout despite the blistering heat in the region, in the fourth phase across the country and the first in the state. The state sends 14 members to the Lok Sabha.
Khunti, which will vote along with the Ranchi, Koderma, Hazaribagh constituencies on May 6, is the only one reserved for members of Scheduled Tribes.
This phase is crucial for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as it aims to retain all the four seats it won in the last Lok Sabha election in 2014. A number of high-profile candidates contesting the election also makes this round interesting.
LK Kundan, who teaches political science at Ranchi University, said the stakes are high for the BJP in this phase.
“The fifth phase is crucial for the BJP. The party is contesting with three new faces on its sitting seats including Ranchi, Khunti and Kodarma. New faces are at times risk-prone,” said Kundan.
“For the opposition grand alliance, excluding the left parties was a big mistake,” he also said.
Two former chief ministers, the BJP’s Arjun Munda from Khunti and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) leader Babulal Marandi, are in the fray in Kodarma. Union minister of state Jayant Sinha of the BJP and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai of Congress are also contesting from Hazaribagh and Ranchi respectively.
Khunti hasbeen a citadel of the BJP and represented by former deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha Karia Munda eight times. The party has rested the veteran and fielded ex-CM Arjun Munda from the seat, south of state capital Ranchi, this time. It is dominated by tribals and Christian voters, and their voting pattern could determine the fate of Arjun Munda.
In Kodarma, JVM(P) chief and first chief minister of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi is locked in a triangular fight with the BJP and CPI-ML. Marandi is the only tribal leader to have represented a general seat, Koderma, from the state in the Lok Sabha. Marandi won the seat in 2004, 2006 by-election and 2009.
He is fancying his chances again as he is the joint candidate of opposition grand alliance.
The BJP sprung a surprise by fielding former RJD state president and four-time legislator from Kodarma Annapurna Devi by inducting her in the party days before announcing the candidate.
Rajdhanwar legislator of CPI-ML Rajkumar Yadav has made the contest triangular on Kodarma seat. He emerged as the runner up from the seat in 2014.
Union minister of state Jayant Sinha is looking for a second term from Hazaribag, represented in the past by his father Yashwant Sinha, and is locked in a direct contest against Congress’ Gopal Sahu.
Another direct flight is ensuing in Ranchi between former Congress Union minister Subodh Kant Sahai and the BJP’s Sanjay Seth, who is making his electoral debut.
The BJP, however, is facing a rebellion on the seat from outgoing MP Ramtahal Chaudhary, who was dumped due to age factor. Chaudhary, who has represented the seat five times, has a strong influence over the dominant Kurmis in the constituency.
The rest of the seven seats will vote in the sixth and the seventh phases of the Lok Sabha election. The votes will be counted on May 23.