Jamshedpur : With JMM MLA from Behragora Vidyut Baran Mahto joining BJP today the parliamentary constituency is set to see a fierce battle with the JVM, JMM and BJP candidates fighting neck to neck for rural and urban votes. The BJP is set to field disgruntled JMM MLA from Behragora Vidyut Baran Mahto from the seat against JVM’s Ajoy Kumar, a former IPS officer, and JMM’s NK Mahanty, former VPHuman Resource of Tata Steel.
Mahto also holds ground among the rural voters in the region Significantly, Kurmi and Mahato voters hold the key to the fate of the candidates in the coming Jamshedpur Lok Sabha election slated on April 17.
The community, which constitutes more than 1.5 lakhs in the total voters’ population in the Jamshedpur constituency of around 16 lakh, has always been a potent political group in the State and a swing in its votes is capable of tilting the political balance.
According to political experts, the Mahto community will play a decisive role in the Lok Sabha election from Jamshedpur this was the prime reason why the BJP was keen to field the JMM MLA from Bahragora. Moreover, Jugsalai and Behragora assembly constituencies have the largest concentration of Kurmi votes. The BJP had successfully drawn Kurmi voters into its fold following the tainted yet influential Kurmi leader Shailendra Mahto joining the party in the midnineties. Moreover, since Vidyut Baran represents Bahragora he would be in a position to garner support from the Kurmi voters along with a sizeable population of Oriya -Bangla speaking people.
“Vidyut enjoys a great degree of respect in the Kurmi community for his assistance to Kurmi leaders of all hues but how far he will be able to transform the respect into vote remains to be seen,” a senior BJP leader said. In all the four rural Assembly segments Ghatshila, Potka, Behragora and Jugsalai, the Mahto voters are dominant. Meanwhile, while the sitting MP Ajoy Kumar from JVM will face anti incum- bency factor, the JMM might face the wrath of local party workers for fielding a newcomer Mahanty.
Though JMM was considering Sabita Mahto, widow of former deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahato to contest but she refused.
“As the elections are inching closer the fight from Jamshedpur is getting interesting. According to my understanding if BJP fields Vidyut, he will not only receive support from the tribal voters but might also garner votes from JMM dominating belts since the tribal party has fielded a ‘newcomer’. Since Arjun Munda holds a strong support amongst the tribal voters in Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat, his party will have added advantage of his experience,” said a political analyst.
Meanwhile, Anil Modi, district spokesperson, said that the final decision on the candidate will be taken by party’s senior leadership. However, who so ever be the candidate the BJP will remain on the safe side since Modi’s wave coupled with the experience of senior leaders like Arjun Munda will help BJP’s chances.