BJP banks on Modi wave in Jharkhand

Has the Congress, by severing its ties with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), given a walkover to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jharkhand?

Well, no one has the correct answer precisely because ever since the state was formed in November 2000, it has seen nine governments, five chief ministers (Babulal Marandi, Arjun Munda, Madhu Koda, Shibu Soren and Hemant Soren) and three President’s rule in the last 14 years.

Yearning for stability, the state this time depends heavily on three Ms: Modi, Marandi and Muslim voters, the latter being 18 per cent will play a decisive role.

The first sign of Narendra Modi’s magic was evident when one spotted a campaign vehicle in the deep jungle area of Chatra. Though BJP candidate is Jaiprakash Singh, there is no sign of his cut-out/banner/picture. The vehicle was plastered with posters of just one person – Narendra Modi – wooing the voters.

Singh is pitted against sitting RJD MLA Janardan Paswan, who now finds himself embroiled in a murder case. Paswan is an accused in the killing of Child Development Programme Officer (CDPO) Md Ali, and is, therefore, on a sticky wicket after facing Muslims’ wrath.

Making the contest triangular one is former agriculture minister in the previous BJP government Sadanand Bhokta, who has switched sides and joined Babulal Marandi’s outfit Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM). Bhokta is now a JVM nominee from Chatra.

Marandi, who was the first chief minister of the State from 2000 to 2003, headed the BJP government before deserting the saffron camp and forming his own organisation JVM.
In the last Assembly election, the JVM got the maximum vote percentage (28.24 per cent), but could bag only 11 seats out of total 81 Assembly constituencies since he had not tied up with any major party.

This year, Marandi was offered to merge his pocket organisation with the BJP, but he dismissed the suggestion.

Marandi’s nominees could win in Chatra (and adjoining Simaria too) only if the 18 per cent Muslims and 13 per cent Yadavs back the JVM to the hilt. “Since the RJD-Congress-JD(U) combine candidate is not in the race, Muslims would back anyone who could give BJP nominees a tough fight. Under such circumstances, Muslims may back the JVM in Chotanagpur region,” said Manzar Ali in Hunterganj on Dobhi-Latehar road.

But the BJP is not worried one bit. It feels once Narendra Modi, whom it depends upon solely and heavily, will launch his campaign on November 21 for the first phase (polling is on November 25), a wind of change will sweep Jharkhand, which will witness its fifth and last phase of polling on December 20.

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