By Amit Tiwari
Jamshedpur: Second phase of Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand is all set to have repercussions on the Assembly polls in the state much before the voters decide the fate of candidates in Jamshedpur, Khunti, Ranchi, Giridih, Singhbhum and Hazaribagh Parliamentary constituencies.
Notwithstanding the victory claims of its president and former Chief Minister Sibu Soren, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has much more struggle facing its leaders in the Assembly elections. While the party is ridden with fissures within the organization in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, it certainly lacks the core confidence with which it once used to wage political battles every election.
For both the current Jharkhand CM, Hemant Soren, and the former CM Arjun Munda, the Jamshedpur seat is going to play an important determinant role in the Parliamentary as well as the Assembly elections and also in the way their political future shapes up. The common factor for both the leaders is the Kurmi factor.
While for one, saying ‘no’ to a ticket aspirant (Savita Mahato) turned into a sticky situation, for the other saying ‘yes’ to another aspirant (Vidyut Varan Mahato) turned into an issue within the party. For Munda, however, the situation is much better as he has put his bet on Vidyut Varan Mahato while remaining true to his image of being an astute politician with farsightedness.
Munda, by giving ticket to the former Jharkhand Mukti Morcha MLA from Baharagora, Vidyut Varan, took a calculated risk of putting his bet on someone belonging to the Kurmi community and holding a considerable support in Baharagora.
His decision was guided by the decisive role played by Kurmi voters in electing MP of Jamshedpur. Former MPs, Abha Mahato and Suman Mahato have won elections on the same confidence, though Suman Mahato also won due to sympathy votes after assassination of her husband and former MP, Sunil Mahato, which led to by-election.
Even if Vidyut Varan does not win, Munda will be ready for the Assembly elections hoping to gain in Baharagora Assembly seat, which also comprises Mahato voters.
For Hemant Soren, however, both present and future seem to be difficult as he has already made a mistake by refusing to Rajya Sabha MP ticket to Savita Mahato, wife of former deputy CM of Jharkhand and former Ichagarh MLA Sudhir Mahato. Sudhir Mahato was once considered a JMM stalwart, though in his last days, he was reduced to be a dissenter in the party. He enjoyed good relationship with Arjun Munda. Had he lived longer, he could just have replaced Vidyut Varan in the Lok Sabha polls this year, poll pundits claim.
As a direct and inevitable consequence of the ticket denial, the Kurmi leaders of the state have polarized against the JMM much before Lok Sabha election notification was out. Now strict denial by Savita Mahato to contest Jamshedpur Lok Sabha polls on a JMM ticket has served to pour oil on the troubled waters for the party.
JMM opted for Niroop Mohanty only in faint hope of securing Oriya, Bengali and corporate sector votes. It also wanted a high-profile candidate against Jharkhand Vikas Morcha’s Dr Ajoy Kumar.
Undoubtedly, for the regional parties like JMM, as also for Arjun Munda, the Assembly elections are much more important. Hence parties will be trying to make amends for their wrong decisions in the Assembly elections which will not be that easy. Before the results are out, the anxious leaders can only keep their fingers crossed.
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