As voting takes place for 15 assembly seats in the final phase in Jharkhand here are some key contests to watch out for on the ground.
Dumka-It’s a prestige battle between JMM’s Hemant Soren and BJP’s Louis Marandi. In 2014, Soren had lost by 4914 votes. In another setback his father and JMM founder Shibu Soren lost the 2019 Lok Sabha election from Dumka. Santhal has been a JMM bastion and eyeing to score big, it is important for Hemant Soren to win Dumka. On the other hand Marandi too is trying hard to halt the JMM leader’s chief ministerial aspirations.
Barhait– This is the second seat from where Hemant Soren is contesting. In 2014, he had won the election from here by a margin of 24,000 votes. This is one of seats where BJP has worked hard in the past five years to break the monopoly of JMM. The party has fielded Simon Malto against Hemant Soren and all eyes will be on this constituency which Soren would like to retain in order to take a lead from the region.
Jama– This is another Soren family seat in Santhal where sitting MLA and Hemant’s sister in law Sita Soren is facing a challenge from Suresh Murmu of the BJP. Jama has been a JMM bastion since Jharkhand was part of Bihar and the party has won this seat since 1980 barring 2005, when BJP won the seat. In 2014, Sita Soren has won the seat by 2300 votes and BJP is trying hard to fill the gap. Little relief for Soren is that Congress has not put up a candidate in alliance with JMM. The party had got 2300 votes in last election.
Pakur– Pakur has never been won by the BJP in past three elections. However this seat witnessed maximum campaigning from both sides. From home minister Amit Shah in the BJP to Priyanka Gandhi in Congress all came here to ensure victory for their candidate. Veteran Congress leader and sitting MLA Alamgir Alam is in fray once again. In 2014 he was challenged by Akeel Akhtar of JMM. Now with JMM in the alliance Akhtar left the party and is contesting on AJSU ticket. BJP has fielded Beni Prasad Gupta. The contest is mainly between the old rivals Alam and Akhtar while the BJP is trying to make it a triangular contest. Since Congress and JMM were first and second party in 2014, coming together of both the parties mathematically works in favour of Alam. However Akhtar too has been a strong leader of the region and will try to divide the voters.
Shikaripara– This is one seat where no party other than JMM has won in last 40 years. Currently six times MLA Nalin Soren is in fray from JMM to ensure a seventh victory for the party. However he has been challenged by Paritosh Soren of the BJP. Paritosh contested 2014 and 2009 election on JVM ticket and this time has joined the BJP. A direct fight between these two candidates is playing out. However AJSU, which has given ticket to BJP’s rebel Shyam Marandi is trying hard to make it a triangular contest.
Source: Economic Times