Jharkhand polls acid test for former chief ministers
The 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand are an acid test for the regional parties and former chief ministers of the state.
The presidents of three regional parties - the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) - are all contesting.
JMM president Shibu Soren and JVM-P president Babulal Marandi are facing each other in the Dumka Lok Sabha seat. Both are former chief ministers.
Marandi was Jharkhand's first chief minister. He quit the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2006 and floated his own party.
Hemant Soren, who is the son of the JMM chief, has taken command of his father's campaign.
"People are aware and know who fought for the state and who brought recognition to the state," he said.
His father and six-time winner from Dumka told reporters, "I am fighting to serve the people of my constituency."
The JMM, however, is facing internal conflicts.
Simon Marandi, a JMM leader and minister in the cabinet, has refused to campaign for Shibu Soren. He is unhappy as his son was not given a party ticket.
Babulal Marandi, on the other hand, is banking on his clean image and is trying to dent the JMM bastion. He has defeated Shibu Soren twice in 1998 and 1999 as a BJP candidate.
"The state needs development and the JVM-P is only hope of the people of the state," he said.
AJSU president Sudesh Mahto, the former deputy chief minister, is fighting from Ranchi, which experts suggest is headed for a multi-corner fight.
Congress sitting MP and former minister Subodh Kant Sahay, BJP's Ram Tahal Chaudhary, former IPS official and Jharkhand State Cricket Association president Amitabh Chaudhary and TMC legislator Bandhu Tirkey are in poll fray on this seat.
Former chief minister Madhu Koda's wife Geeta Koda is fighting from Chaibasa.
Madhu Koda is the sitting MP from the same constituency, but he is not contesting due to growing pressure to opt out.
Political experts say Lok Sabha results in the state will be crucial for the three main regional parties and the two national parties. The assembly poll is also scheduled in November-December this year.
(Posted on 04-04-2014)