Ranchi: Out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, the battle for Koderma is the most interesting. The contest here is not between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Mahagathbandhan directly, but triangular in nature.
The candidate who had made the contest triangular is CPI (ML)’s Rajkumar Yadav, who had secured 2.67 lakhs votes in 2014 when “Modi wave” was at its peak. Back then, Yadav was also not even an MLA and after six months of securing the second position in Koderma during the Lok Sabha election, he had defeated Babulal Marandi, in the Jharkhand Assembly polls.
Unlike his opponent Annapurna Devi who has the support of the largest political party of India — BJP as well as the blessings of Chief Minister Raghubar Das, and seasoned politician Babulal Marandi, he has no support either from star campaigners or large alliance partners to bank on, but Yadav and CPI (ML) leaders are touching chords of commoners because of their dedication towards people’s cause.
Significantly, Subhash Yadav, RJD leader and party’s Chatra candidate during a press conference also come in favour of CPI (ML) candidate and declared that RJD will be supporting Yadav in the Koderma and not Marandi.
Gujarat’s independent MLA Jignesh Mevani also stayed In Koderma for 3 days and held public meetings and rallies at many places in Koderma constituency.
Because of defeating the former chief minister and raising people’s issues, Yadav is known a ‘fighter’ leader.
What favour’s Rajkumar Yadav:
- His and party’s 365 days presence amid people
- Securing the second position in two consecutive elections
- Defeated Marandi during Vidhan Sabha polls
- Image of a crusader for people’s cause
Devi, the former Jharkhand RJD chief has been preferred over Nira Yadav of BJP, Jharkhand’s Education Minister for Koderma Lok Sabha election. Devi heaved a sigh of relief when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally on April 29 in Jamua. After the rally, it is now being believed that Devi is back in the contest, else earlier she was finding it difficult to get support even to her own BJP partymen. Yadav community was also unhappy with her for leaving RJD at a time when the party supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav needed her presence in the party.
And Devi’s fight against own party (BJP) cadres and leaders who were unhappy with incumbent MP Ravindra Rai did not get ticket are getting interesting. Rai’s elder brother Surendra Rai, who was the vice-president of Jharkhand BJP’s Farmer Wing has resigned, alleging that the party gave the ticket to a candidate who had abused PM Modi as RJD Jharkhand Chief and not the party loyalists. Surendra is openly campaigning with Marandi.
Devi is finding it tough to shrug off the ‘outsider‘ tag from her own partymen.
However, Jharkhand chief minister, Das who brought Annapurna into the party fold is putting in his all might to make her win. He came down to Koderma at least four times since Devi filed her nomination, to seek vote for her.
In favour of Annapurna Devi:
- Cashing on PM Modi’s image of a nationalist hero
- Banking on Raghubar Das’ support
Former chief minister Babulal Marandi, who is seeking his third term as Koderma’s MP has to also show his report card to the masses, as what he did in his 10 years as Koderma MP, between 2004 to 2014. Marandi also has to answer as to why his party’s MLA and leaders only join BJP?
Marandi is also facing opposition from Muslim intellectuals who believe that the former chief minister has taken away the chance of Muslim leader Furqan Ansari getting fielded from the Godda seat. Being gathbandhan’s candidate, he might end up bearing the anger of the community as retaliation to why the gathbandhan did not give a ticket to a single candidate from the minority community on any of the 14 seats.
In favour of Babulal Marandi:
- Banking on the arithmetic of Mahagathbandhan
- Claim of being invincible in Koderma Lok Sabha elections
- Image of big leader and former chief minister of Jharkhand
Most importantly, Koderma election is not being fought at a party level, else BJP wouldn’t have to change its sitting MP and poach candidates from other parties.
Candidates’ own image and caliber matter more for the Koderma seat. Keeping into account the fact that Yadav is the only MLA in the fray who has been consistent in his work, he definitely has an edge over other candidates.
Koderma’s voters will choose their 17th Lok Sabha representative in Parliament on May 6.