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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Fight between regional players could bring local issue into play in Giridih

Both national and regional parties in the past have represented the Giridih parliamentary seat, spread across three districts Giridih, Bokaro and Dhanbad for years. However, the basic issues remained unresolved.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 09, 2019 16:47 IST
Subhash Mishra
Subhash Mishra
Hindustan Times, Giridih
lok sabha elections 2019,lok sabha polls in jharkhand,giridih LS seat
JMM’s Jagarnath Mahto (in white kurta) filing nomination papers for Giridih Lok Sabha seat in Bokaro on Saturday April 20,2019-(HT File Photo )

Girdih boasts of giving Jharkhand its first chief minister, Babulal Marandi, but the condition of the parliamentary constituency remains almost unchanged even in 19 years of the formation of state.

Exodus of youth for jobs and Maoists menace continue unabated while stories abound of tribal and farmers whose land were acquired in the name of industry but were denied adequate compensation. Their struggle for compensation is on. Besides, the general populace struggle for basic facilities including drinking water.

Both national and regional parties in the past have represented the Giridih parliamentary seat, spread across three districts Giridih, Bokaro and Dhanbad for years. However, the basic issues remained unresolved. The constituency votes on May 12.

Political observers feel that the focus of political parties on national issues is the reason behind lack of development here. They, however, believe local issues could determine the electoral result of Girdih as the direct contest is between regional players.

“Since industrial area of three districts Giridih, Bokaro and Dhanbad fall in Giridih parliamentary constituency, only national issues figure in Lok Sabha elections and people vote on similar lines. However, the 2019 Lok Sabha poll in Giridih has become significant due to political vacuum created by BJP by not fielding its candidate after two decades’ dominance. Since the fight on the ground between JMM and AJSU party, local issues could become important,” said Shahnawaz Akhtar, a political analyst.

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Giridih constituency in Jharkhand

In last six general elections, BJP’s Ravindra Kumar Pandey won five times from Giridih seat. However, to the surprise of many, the BJP gave the seat to its ally AJSU Party as pre-poll alliance deal.

Of the six assembly seats in Giridih LS seat, three are with the BJP while its alliance AJSU holds one seat. The rest two seats are with the JMM.

For the first time in Girdih, two regional party leaders, AJSU’s Chandra Prakash Chaudhary and JMM’s Jagarnath Mahto will have straight fight. Chaudhary is minister in the Raghubar Das government. Mahto, a Dumri legislator, had emerged runner up in 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

For the last four decades, Giridih has been bleeding due to left wing extremism. A day before the beginning of nomination on April 15, three Maoists and a security personnel were killed in an encounter between the security forces and the outlawed ultras.

“Giridih is still a backward area. Urban people are struggling with power, water and pollution problem while rural youth are facing exodus. Moreover, outsourcing of mines has created unemployment. Lakhs of acres of land are fallow due to lack of irrigation facility, pushing farmers in penury,” said Akhtar.

A private school teacher of Bokaro Steel City, Akshay Kumar, said, “In this election, voters have high hope as serious battle is between two regional party candidates. The winner may focus on local problem of people.”

However outgoing MP of BJP, Ravindra Kumar Pandey, claimed in last 23 years he put Giridh on the development map of the country. Pandey, represented Giridih in 1996, 1998, 1999, 2009 and 2014.

JMM candidate Jagarnath Mahto, however, claimed basic issues of constituency remain unaddressed. He said, “The BJP has been winning it continuously since 1996 but people still struggle for power, road and drinking water. That is why BJP shied away from contesting this time.”

As far as the social demography of the constituency is concerned, Giridih is dominated by Kurmis who, as per estimates of political parties, are numbered at around 5.50 lakh, followed by Muslims (2.40 Lakh).

The constituency was created in 1957, but in past 62 years (16 general elections and one by–election) except the BJP, no other party has won the seat twice till 2014.

BJP candidate Ravindra Pandey has record of winning the seat five times –1996, 1998, 1999, 2009 and in 2014. Pandey lost the seat in 2004 to Teklal Mahto of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. But in next general election in 2009, he regained the seat.

Besides Ravindra Pandey, veteran leader of BJP Ramdas Singh had distinction of winning Giridih seat twice in 1977 as Janata Party candidate and 12 years later in 1989 on BJP symbol.

Though after losing first (1957) and second general election (1962), the Congress won the Giridh seat four times in 1967, 1971 ,1980 and 1984 but none of its sitting MPs were able to retain the seat.

First Published: May 09, 2019 16:47 IST