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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Seraikela may tip the scales in Singhbhum

The region’s three parliamentary constituencies — Dumka, Rajmahal, and Godda — which will go to the polls on May 19, are considered crucial for both the BJP and the oppositions’ Grand Alliance.

lok sabha elections Updated: May 17, 2019 15:06 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Lok Sabha elections 2019,Seraikela,tip the scales
Giving the final thrust in the the general elections, former Chief Minister Arjun Munda canvases in the tribal-dominated Santhal Parganas.(PTI/File Photo)

Giving the final thrust to poll campaigns in the last phase of the general elections, the state BJP brought in its tallest tribal leader and former chief minister Arjun Munda for canvassing in the tribal-dominated Santhal Parganas. On Thursday, Munda addressed three public meetings in the region, though more were scheduled.

The region’s three parliamentary constituencies — Dumka, Rajmahal, and Godda — which will go to the polls on May 19, are considered crucial for both the BJP and the oppositions’ Grand Alliance.

While Dumka and Rajmahal are currently represented by the JMM parliamentarians Shibu Soren and Vijay Hansdak respectively, Godda is represented by BJP’s sitting MP Nishi Kant Dubey.

The Saffron Party, which won 12 out of the state’s 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, has intensified its campaign in the area to accomplish its mission of a complete sweep in the state.

The party’s star campaigners, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP’s national president Amit Shah, Union minister Smriti Irani and others, had so far addressed election rallies in the tribal region. Besides, Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das is holding multiple meetings and rallies every day in Santhal Parganas.

Leaving no stone unturned, the party threw Munda in poll campaigns in all the three aforesaid Lok Sabha constituencies. The ex-CM hit the campaign trail in Santhal Parganas on Wednesday when he shared the dais with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s public rally in Deoghar.

As many as six programmes, including five public meetings and one roadshow, was scheduled for Munda on Thursday. However, he could only manage to conduct three public meetings due to paucity of time.

“The former chief minister had held public meetings at Sikaripara in the Dumka parliamentary constituency and Jaikalani and Sundarpahar in the Rajmahal Lok Sabha seat,” a senior BJP leader said. He added that Munda would address public rallies on the last day of campaign on Friday also, depending on the availability of a helicopter.

Speaking at Sikaripara, Munda urged the people to vote for national security. He said, “During the Congress regime, half of Kashmir was captured by Pakistan. Other neighbouring countries are also looking at Indian territory with prying eyes. The country should be in safe hands.”

Munda appealed to the people to choose an “honest and strong government at the Centre”. JAMSHEDPUR: Voters in the Seraikela assembly segment in the Singhbhum parliamentary constituency could become the deciding factor in electing the next Member of Parliament. This assembly constituency, out of the total six assembly segments, has the maximum number of voters under the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat, which went to polls on May 12. The Seraikela assembly segment also saw the highest rate of voting on May 12, a fact that both the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the opposition Congress claim would work in their favour.

Altogether, 69.24% voters out of the total 12,57,462 in the Singhbhum Lok Sabha constituency exercised their franchise. Out of the six assembly segments under Singhbhum, 71.44% voters from Seraikela exercised their franchise, followed by 70.15% in Chaibasa, 69.82% in Jagannathpur, 69.39% in Manjhgaon, 69.01% in Chakradharpur, and 64.15% in Manoharpur assembly constituency.

Number of booths and voters in Seraikela are the highest among all the assembly segments of Singhbhum. Compared to 431 booths in Seraikela, other assembly segments have 233 to 284 booths. Seraikela has 3,15,596 voters, while other constituencies have voters between 1,71,516 and 2,04,862.

President of BJP’s SeraikelaKharsawan district committee, Uday Singhdeo, said that prominent candidates in these elections, including Laxman Gilua of BJP and Geeta Koda of the Congress, had paid a lot of attention to Seraikela during campaigning. “Due to the highest figure of voting percentage, the constituency would play a crucial role in the results,” he added.

The high turnout of voters in Seraikela gives BJP hope because in the 2014 elections, during the vote count in this assembly segment, Gilua had from the beginning remained ahead of Geeta Koda, who had then contested as a Jai Bharat Samanta Party candidate.

In 2014, in the final tally for Seraikela, Gilua got 1,14,873 votes while Geeta Koda got 25,377, a margin of 89,496 votes. In the overall vote count for the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat, the votes received by Gilua and Geeta Koda were 3,03,131 and 2,15,607, respectively, a difference of 87,524.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha general elections, during counting in the Seraikela assembly segment, Gilua was ahead of Geeta Koda by about 2,000 votes in each round of counting.

In the other assembly segments, he had not maintained such a lead throughout, though he did eventually win the seat.

However, leaders of the Congress and other Grand Alliance parties are hopeful that the joint votes of the Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Geeta Koda’s core supporters would ensure her victory.

Seraikela would play a crucial role in the final win from this constituency, they agreed, but that role would be against BJP and in favour of the Congress candidate, these Grand Alliance leaders added.

Geeta Koda said, “Voters are disappointed with the BJP candidate Laxman Gilua. Hence they came out in large numbers and voted for change.”

First Published: May 17, 2019 15:06 IST

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