BJP faces stiff fight from Marandi's man

BJP faces stiff fight from Marandi's man

Battle for states: Parties devise new strategies ahead of elections

BJP faces stiff fight from Marandi's man

“We have decimated Maa-beta ki sarkar. It’s time to trounce Baap-beta ki sarkar,” said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) nominee from Simaria, Sujit Bharti, in an apparent reference to Sonia-Rahul and Shibu Soren-Hemant Soren combine, during one of his rallies here.

This tag line is repeated umpteen times on loudspeakers in this part of the Chotanagpur belt of Jharkhand.  Though the BJP, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Babulal Mara-ndi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) each have put up their nominees from this Maoist-infested reserved constituency, the BJP is facing a stiff challenge from its former (Sangh) Parivar member – Marandi – who has fielded Ganesh Ganju from here.

Ganju’s claim to fame is that he is the brother of Brajesh Ganju, the self-styled supremo of banned Maoist outfit —Tritiya Prastuti Sammelan Committee. And, therefore, Ganju reportedly enjoys the unsolicited support of the Maoists.

A turncoat, who deserted Guruji (as Shibu Soren, the JMM chief, is fondly known here), Ganju was the JMM nominee from Simaria in 2009, but he lost to Jaiprakash Singh of JVM. Now that Jaiprakash is in the BJP and is the saffron candidate from adjoining Chatra, Ganesh Ganju has joined Marandi’s JVM to fight from Simaria.

When asked why Muslims and Yadavs of Simaria won’t vote for Lalu’s nominee Manoj Chandra, a political scientist Shyamlal Tirki explained: “After Bihar’s bifurcation in 2000, Yadavs and Muslims look towards someone who is one among them. Babulal Marandi has cultivated better leaders who can draw more Yadavs and Muslims towards them than any leader from Bihar.” 

The BJP is not wary of the challenge posed by JVM, which, in 2009 polls, got maximum votes percentage. The saffron camp feels that  Jharkhand will vote for a single party rule as the coalition governments (including BJP-headed regimes) have not been able to deliver.