Prominent women MPs lose in Jharkhand

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Ranchi
May 15, 2004 09:53 PM IST

Besides Yashwant Sinha, who was defeated in Hazaribag constituency, two prominent women MPs - Rita Verma and Abha Mahto of the BJP, also lost the polls.

Many political heavyweights, including former external affairs minister Yashwant Sinha, fell by the wayside during the elections in Jharkhand as voters showed a marked preference for the opposition candidates.

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Besides Sinha, who was defeated in Hazaribag constituency, two prominent women MPs -- Rita Verma and Abha Mahto of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - and two more ministers, Karia Munda and Nagmani, also lost the polls.

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Verma, a four-time MP and central former minister, and Abha Mahto, a two-time MP lost the elections by massive margins.

Verma was first elected to the Lok Sabha in 1991 when she was fielded by the BJP from Dhanbad after her husband, a police officer, was killed in the same district while trying to stop a bank robbery.

Though she won three more elections, her performance as an MP irked voters and their anger culminated in her defeat at the hands of Congress candidate Chandrashekar Dubey by over 119,378 votes.

Mahto, wife of Shailendra Mahto, one of the accused in the case related to the alleged bribes paid to Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MPs to prop up former prime minister P.V. Narasimha Rao's government, first contested polls in 1998.

This time, she lost to JMM candidate Sunil Mahto by 105,623 votes.

But not all women candidates performed badly in the elections. Congress candidate from Khuti, Sushila Kerketta, defeated six-time MP and central minister Karia Munda by 51,163 votes.

Former central minister Nagmani came third in the Chatra parliamentary seat.

Hazaribagh repeated history with the defeat of external affairs minister Sinha. No candidate has won elections from this seat for three successive terms. Sinha had won from the seat in the last two general elections.

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