Jharkhand polls: Will Koda’s arrest favour Cong?
Amidst Maoist-imposed 48-hour bandh, Jharkhand voted for the second phase of polls on Wednesday. A total of 30,96,854 eligible voters exercised their franchise for 14 assembly constituencies. EC has cancelled polling on Barkatha seat following the death of BJP MLA Chitranjan Yadav and rescheduled it for December 18.
If we look at the 14 constituencies politically and compare them with the performance of different political parties in 2005, we find that BJP had won 4, JMM-3, JD-U 2, AJSU 2, while Congress, RJD and UGDP had won one seat each. Besides, if we assess the strength of political parties according to their performance in general elections, we see that the second phase basically covers five parliamentary seats of Koderma, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Ranchi and Khunti.
And on these seats, Congress party is set to give a tough fight to its rivals in the constituencies falling under Ranchi and Koderma where Subodh Kant Sahai and Babulal Marandi have been winners. The party appears to be confident after the successful rallies of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, who have appealed for a stable and corruption free government in the state. How far the Grand Old Party, along with Babulal Marandi’s JVM-P, would be able to woo the voters would be interesting to watch.
If the arrest of Madhu Koda in hawala case is going to have any impact, the credit would go to the Congress party’s de facto regime in the state through President’s rule. The party was desperate to convey a positive message among its electorate after bearing the criticism of supporting the corrupt government of Koda.
On the contrary, BJP leaders have vehemently tried to foil the Congress’ campaign, charging it with secretly sharing the profits of crime during the 23-month rule of Madhu Koda. Besides, it has highlighted the Centre’s failure to rein in the Maoists and thus hampering the state’s development.
As the BJP-led alliance has been ruling since the carving out of the state, and having won Khunti (Karia Munda), Hazaribagh (Yashwant Sinha) and Giridih (RK Pandey) parliamentary seats, it is quite confident that it would add to its strength, along with its ally JD-U.
However, the JMM is projecting an image of being prevented from ruling Jharkhand, which it claimed was created after decades of struggle by its leaders. JMM chief Shibu Soren is not in fray, but has promised to protect the interests of the state. Lalu Prasad and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan, in alliance with Left parties, have targeted Congress for aligning with Babulal Marandi- once an RSS cadre.
Ironically, most of the candidates have preferred to campaign in market places and colonies located along the highways in their respective constituencies and have avoided Maoist infested areas in the wake of their boycott call.
National Election Watch has studied the details of 130 candidates in fray and found that 48 (36.92%) candidates are with self-declared pending criminal charges, while 23 (48%) have declared serious IPC charges like that of murder, attempt to murder, kidnapping, extortion, causing hurts by dangerous weapons and dacoity.
All the major parties including BJP-5, Congress-4, RJD-4, JD(U)-3, AJSU-7 and JMM-7 have given tickets to candidates with pending criminal charges. AJSU has 4 candidates (33%) out of its 12 candidates who have serious IPC charges, followed by JMM -3, CPI(ML)(L)-3, Congress-2 and BJP has 2 candidates contesting with serious charges.
If we look at crorepati candidates, 4 have declared their assets as more than a crore, i.e. about 3% of the candidates are crorepatis. Congress candidate Roshan Kumar Surin from Khunti has declared highest assets- worth about Rs 27.11 crores, followed by Sudesh Kumar Mahto of AJSU from Silli (Rs 1.67 cr) and Nirbhay Kumar of JVM-P from Giridih (Rs 1.61 cr).
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