Two former chief ministers toil for Lok Sabha debut

April 21st, 2009 - 11:20 am ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ranchi, April 21 (IANS) They deserted their parent parties and became Jharkhand chief minister at a relatively young age. Both came from poor background but managed to amass huge assets. Their paths crossed famously once, and now Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda have both hit the road to the Lok Sabha.
Munda, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator and candidate from Jamshedpur, and Koda, an independent legislator contesting from Singbhum, are hard at work for Thursday’s voting in the second phase of the Lok Sabha elections.

Munda quit the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and joined the BJP in 2000 and became chief minister in 2003.

Koda quit the BJP in 2005 after being denied nomination by the party and fought the assembly polls as an independent. He became chief minister in September 2006 by ousting Munda.

Munda campaigns from urban to rural areas and tries to impress the voters, reminding them of the work undertaken by him as chief minister.

“Voters are wise enough to understand the real issue like roads, electricity and safe drinking water and other things,” said Munda.

While walking in villages he reminds people that he introduced the Mukhyamantri Kanyadan Yojna under which girls from poor families are married free of cost and provided Rs.10,000 in cash.

He also mentions the housing schemes and development undertaken by him.

Munda is locked in a triangular fight with sitting MP and JMM candidate Suman Mahto and All Jharkhahnd Students Union (AJSU) candidate Shailendra Mahto.

In Jamshedpur, Mahto community votes are a deciding factor and the fight between two Mahtos is likely to help Munda.

Munda enjoys support in urban areas and he is toiling away in rural areas. He interacts with people in Bengali or Oriya as Jamshedpur borders West Bengal and Orissa and most people there speak these languages.

Koda too is trapped in a triangular fight. He is pitted against sitting Congress MP Bagun Sumbrai and BJP candidate Barkuwar Gagarai.

Interestingly, Koda had ousted Munda in 2006 on the issue of the 45 km-long Haatghamaria-Baraiburu road in Singhbhum district.

“People know whom to vote for. It was I who ensured the release of Rs.145 crore for the road construction from Haatghamaria to Baraiburu,” said Koda at an election rally.

Koda was a minister in the Munda government. But he along with three other independent legislators withdrew support to Munda and then, supported by the United Progressive Alliance, became chief minister.

The better halves of both the former chief ministers are playing a key role in their campaigning, seeking votes for their spouses.

Whether their political paths will continue on the same road or diverge as they fight for the Lok Sabha seat will be decided Thursday.

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