Multi-cornered fights in first phase of Jharkhand polls

April 13th, 2009 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Ranchi, April 13 (IANS) Six of Jharkhand’s 14 Lok Sabha seats that go to polls in the first phase April 16 will witness multi-cornered fights and decide the fate of some high profile candidates like former union minister Yashwant Sinha and former chief minister Babulal Marandi. Two jailed Maoist leaders are also in the fray.
Six seats that got to polls are Palamau, Chatra, Lohardagga, Hazaribagh, Koderma and Khuti.

A total of 85 candidates are in the fray whose fate will be decided by 7,068,696 voters. Of these, 3,715,425 are males. Palamau has the highest number of voters - 1,416,727.

Of the six seats, two each are held by the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) - Palamau and Chatra - and the Congress - Khuti and Lohardagga - and one each by the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) - Koderma - and the Communist Party of India (CPI) - Hazaribagh.

The BJP is trying hard to win on at least three seats Khuti, Hazaribagh and Lohardagga.

BJP ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) is fighting on two seats, Palamau and Chatra.

JVM-P, formed by former BJP leader Marandi, is fighting all the six seats and is expected to eat into BJP’s pie.

Congress is fighting on five and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on three seats. Congress and JMM are going for a “friendly fight” on Hazaribagh and Koderma seats.

In Hazaribagh, Sinha is trapped in a multi-cornered fight with the sitting CPI MP Bhuneshwar Mehta and Congress’ Saurabah Narayan Singh. The JMM and the JVM-P have also fielded candidates in Hazaribagh.

In Koderma, the first chief minister of Jharkhand and JVM-P chief Marandi is seeking re-election for the third time. The Lok Sabha election is a litmus test for Marandi who is trying to emerge as a third force in the state.

The BJP, JMM and Congress candidates in the constituency are considered weak and Marandi’s main fight will be from Communist Party of India-Maoist-Leninist (CPI-ML) candidate Raj Kumar Yadav.

In Chatra seat, many parties are banking on political turncoats.

The JD-U poached BJP’s Chatra deputy president Arun Yadav and fielded him there.

The RJD has fielded Nagmani, who was minister in Nitish Kumar government and quit JD-U after being denied ticket from Ujjiarpur Lok Sabha seat while sitting RJD MP Dhirendra Agrawal is contesting as an independent after being denied the party ticket.

CPI-ML has fielded jailed Maoist leader Ranjan Yadav who faces more than a dozen criminal cases. Former state assembly speaker Inder Singh Namdhari, fighting as an independent, is also considered a strong candidate.

In Palamau, jailed Maoist rebel Kameshwar Baitha, fielded by the JMM, is giving a tough fight to sitting RJD MP Ghuran Ram. The JD-U has fielded party legislator Radha Krishan Kishore.

Niel Tirkey, a Congress legislator, is locked in a direct fight with BJP candidate and former union minister Karia Munda in Khuti. And in Lohardagga, union Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Rameshwar Oraon is fighting for re-election.

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