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Lok Sabha Elections 2019: In Jamshedpur, the main contest is between BJP and JMM

In Jamshedpur LS seat, while the Grand Alliance candidate Champai Soren focuses on his pro-labour image, BJP’s Bidyut Baran Mahato rides on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and his ‘achievements’ in the last five years.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 08, 2019 17:05 IST
Debahsish Sarkar
Debahsish Sarkar
Hindustan Times, Jamshedpur
lok sabha elections 2019,jamshedpur LS seat,bidyut baran mahto
BJP President Amit Shah with Raghubar Das waves at the crowd during an election campaign rally in support of the party candidate Bidyut Baran Mahato in Jamshedpur, Wednesday, May 8, 2019. (PTI)

Only the result of Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat will tell if the Grand Alliance did the right thing by fielding a tribal candidate, Chamai Soren, from a general seat. Soren, a JMM candidate, will take on outgoing BJP MP Bidyut Baran Mahato, who is a Kurmi.  The constituency votes on May 12 in the sixth phase of Lok Sabha polls.

While Soren focuses on his pro-labour image besides pinning on minorities’ vote consolidations, Mahato rides on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity and his ‘achievements’ in the last five years.

Mahato said he won the 2014 general elections in Modi wave and this year he would sail through on works being done by Modi government. He also listed his own efforts in bringing in international airport in Dhalbhumgarh, opening up half a dozen closed mines which paved employment to over 20, 000 directly or starting the construction of Jugsalai railway over bridge, a 72-year-old demand of the people here.

“It was PM Modi’s vision that the state now has electricity, free cooking gas and toilets in every household. Work is on in full swing to provide housing to every citizen by 2022. And his stand of zero tolerance to terrorism has left its sponsor, Pakistan, isolated internationally and terrorists are now on the run,” Bidyut said. He said, “Lok Sabha election is about national issues and people will vote for national security and visionary schemes like Mudra Yojna, Ayushman Bharat Yojna, pension for unorganized sector workers and incentives for farmers.”

Champai, on the other hand, said if voted to power, he would fight to end the system of hiring workers on contract. “If voted to power, I will fight this tooth and nail to end the system of contractor workers after May 23. My rival candidate say he has generated employments by opening mines but why then hundreds of people still migrating in search of jobs,” asked Champai. He claimed if Modi government came to power, the labour law would be amended in such a manner that the issue of permanent worker would be obsolete.

Champai has also promised to open up 14, 000 primary schools that were merged with nearest schools as per Niti Ayog recommendation for rationalising the number of teachers vis a vis students in a school. “But my point is that it should have been done taking geographical aspects into consideration. Many schools were in remote forested hilly areas from where the children will not be able to come to newly merged schools,” Champai shot back.

Shailendra Mahato, two-time MP from the seat, said former state chief minister Arjun Munda was the only tribal to win the seat in 2009, given his own political clout and rural Mahato and tribal votes combining well with the urban BJP votes. Munda had defeated slain JMM MP Sunil Mahato’s widow Suman Mahato in 2009 polls. “Bidyut then joined BJP and defeated Dr Ajoy Kumar with a handsome margin. There’s no reason why Mahato vote will desert him,” said Mahato.

Interestingly, Mahato candidates have won the seat seven times so far. And two Mahato candidates won the seat twice in succession out of the three times people here voted same candidate to Parliament for two consecutive terms. The seat has almost equal share of Mahato and tribal voters while Bengalis and Sikhs with sizeable populations are considered traditional BJP voters.

Soren, however, expects Muslims (about 7%), who traditionally vote for Congress, will come to his kitty. Further, he promised second language status to Bengali here a couple of days back.

First Published: May 08, 2019 17:05 IST