Second phase polling in Jharkhand on April 17

For the second phase Jharkhand poll on April 17, the BJP has been toiling to retain its seats, while the Congress and other parties are trying to improve their tallies.

Ranchi: For the second phase Jharkhand poll on April 17, the BJP has been toiling to retain its seats, while the Congress and other parties are trying to improve their tallies.

The first phase of polling for four seats was held on April 10.

Six Lok Sabha constituencies - Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Giridih, Hazaribagh, Khuti and Chaibasa - go to the polls on April 17.

Out of these, the Bharatiya Janata Party won four seats in 2009, the Congress won in Ranchi, while former chief minister Madhu Koda won the Chaibasa seat.
Among the main contenders are former minister and Congress Ranchi MP Subodh Kant Sahay, deputy speaker of Lok Sabha and BJP sitting MP Karia Munda and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha`s son Jayant Sinha.

In 2011, the BJP had lost the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha bypoll that was won by Ajay Kumar of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P).

The BJP now claims it will win at least five seats in the second phase of the polling.

"We will win all the six seats. There is no doubt on winning five seats. The NaMo wave is a plus point for party candidates. Overall, we will repeat the 1998 result by winning 12 of the 14 seats," Pradeep Sinha, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson, told a news agency.

On the other hand, the Congress too is confident of winning the maximum number of seats.
"Based on our feedback, we are confident of winning maximum number of seats in the second phase. We will repeat the 2004 performance by winning 13 of the 14 seats," Ajay Rai, Congress spokesperson, told a news agency.

Party politics aside, the state capital is also witnessing an interesting fight of personalities.

In Ranchi, Congress sitting MP and former minister Subodh Kant Sahay is facing stiff competition from TMC`s Bandhu Tirkey and Amitabh Chaudhary of JVM-P, other than from the BJP.

Chaudhary is a former Indian Police Service officer and president of the Jharkhand State Cricket Association.

Also on the same seat, BJP candidate Ram Tahal Chaudhary is facing the challenge from Sudesh Mahto, who is president of the All Jharkhand Students Union.

Both Chaudhary and Mahto are banking on the more than 300,000 Kurmi votes, whereas the Congress is banking on its traditional vote bank and Muslim votes.

Karia Munda, the deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha and senior BJP leader, is fighting to win the Khuti seat for the seventh time. Party president Rajnath Singh has campaigned for him.

He is locked in a fight with Jharkhand Party legislator and former minister Enos Ekka. AAP candidate Dayamani Barla has alleged that Enos Ekka is getting support of Maoist organisation People`s Liberation Front of India.

But Karia Munda is confident of winning.

"I do not believe in promises but in work. I have tried to help people by using the MP fund. I have been raising issues with the state government for improving health, education and other basic facilities," he told reporters.

From Hazaribagh, senior BJP leader and sitting MP Yashwant Sinha is now campaigning for his son Jayant Sinha. The senior leader is leaving no stone unturned to make his son`s campaign a success.

Jayant Sinha will fight it out with Congress legislator Saurabh Narayan Singh and Lok Nath Mahto of the AJSU.

The steel city Jamshedpur is witnessing a contest between sitting MP Ajay Kumar of JVM-P and BJP`s Vidyut Baran Mahto, who had quit the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

The Jamshedpur seat is a prestige issue for former chief minister Arjun Munda and the BJP which was instrumental in bringing Mahto to the BJP.

From Chaibasa, Geeta Koda, a legislator and wife of Madhu Koda, is contesting against BJP legislator Laskhman Gilua and the Congress` Chitrasen Sinku.