Lok Sabha elections 2019: Ex-CMs, Union ministers in Jharkhand’s election race
While Munda will contest from Khunti, a seat reserved for candidates from the Scheduled Tribe category, Marandi will contest from Koderma. Sinha and Sahai will contest from Hazaribag and Ranchi, respectively.Updated: May 06, 2019, 08:37 IST
Two former chief ministers, Arjun Munda (Bharatiya Janata Party) and Babulal Marandi of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), as well as two Union ministers, minister of state Jayant Sinha (BJP) and Subodh Kant Sahai (former minister from Congress), will contest in the fifth phase of polling here.
While Munda will contest from Khunti, a seat reserved for candidates from the Scheduled Tribe category, Marandi will contest from Koderma. Sinha and Sahai will contest from Hazaribag and Ranchi, respectively.
In all, four seats go to polls in Jharkhand on May 6. The remaining seven out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state, will poll in the upcoming two phases. In 2014, the BJP won 12 seats, including the four that poll on Monday.
Khunti is a BJP stronghold, with Karia Munda, former deputy Speaker of Lok Sabha, winning the seat eight times. This time, however, the party has fielded ex-CM Arjun Munda from the seat, dominated by tribal and Christian voters.
In Koderma, Marandi, the first chief minister of Jharkhand, is locked in a triangular fight, with the BJP and Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist). 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.
This time, he is the candidate of the alliance between Congress, Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the JVM (P) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).
The BJP sprung surprise by fielding former RJD state president and four-time legislator from Koderma Annapurna Devi. Rajdhanwar legislator of CPI-ML Rajkumar Yadav has made the contest triangular.
Sinha is looking for a second term from Hazaribag, represented in past by his father Yashwant Sinha, and faces Congress’ Gopal Sahu.
In state capital Ranchi, the battle is between Sahai, former Congress union minister and BJP’s Sanjay Seth, who makes his electoral debut. The party is facing rebellion from outgoing MP Ramtahal Chaudhary, who has represented the seat five times.
“The fifth phase is crucial for BJP. The party is contesting with three new faces in its sitting seats including Ranchi, Khunti and Koderma. New faces are at times risk-prone. For the opposition grand alliance, excluding left parties was a big mistake,” LK Kundan, associate professor at Ranchi University, said.