Three reasons why Subodh Kant may romp home again

Former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, the Congress candidate from Ranchi, addressing party workers in his Lok Sabha constituency. DH photo

Shortly before campaigning picked up in the scorching summer, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a roadshow in Ranchi from the airport to Birsa Munda Chowk a few days ago. Modi’s aim was to energise his cadres who felt quite let down after the outgoing BJP MP from Ranchi, Ram Tahal Choudhary, a five-term parliamentarian, was denied party ticket.

Whether it helped infused a new lease of life in the saffron camp can’t be said with certainty, but what is certain is the fact that a faction-ridden BJP has made the Congress nominee and former Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay’s road to success a bit smooth.

Since 1989, Subodh Kant has won from Ranchi thrice (1989, 2004, 2009) and has served under three Prime Ministers – VP Singh, Chandrashekhar and Manmohan Singh. His rival Ram Tahal Choudhary, who has been denied BJP ticket but is in the fray as an Independent, has won five times 1991, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2014. However, the Kurmi leader was never made a minister in any of the BJP-led NDA regimes.

Subodh Kant is trying to encash this (advantageous) point and insists that if he wins for the fourth time, he could serve under the fourth Prime Minister. A deeply religious person, he has engaged priests from Deogarh’s Baidynathdham temple to do puja for him. Besides, he has performed puja at Tamad temple (where MS Dhoni often offers prayers) and four other religious sites.

CHANGE IN THE WIND

There are three prime reasons why Subodh Kant is likely to romp home in 2019 parliamentary polls. “First, by denying party ticket to BJP MP from Ranchi, Ram Tahal Choudhary (on the ground that he was above 75 and belonged to Advani camp), the saffron camp has grossly erred. It has not only alienated the BJP supporters, but may lose a large chunk of Kurmi (Ram Tahal’s fellow castemen) votes,” political observer Rajesh Sinha told Deccan Herald.

Secondly, the BJP has fielded a rookie politician Sanjay Seth, who was chairman of the State Khadi and Village Industries, but has never contested any election till date.

Thirdly, unlike 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Subodh Kant is a Mahagatbandhan candidate representing Congress and has the backing of JMM, Babulal Marandi’s JVM and the RJD.

Seth, on the other hand, is banking on Modi’s charisma for the May 6th poll.


Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency (Jharkhand)

2014 winner: Ram Tahal Choudhary (BJP)

Runners up: Subodh Kant Sahay (Congress)

Margin of votes: Over 1,99,000.

2019 contestants: Subodh Kant Sahay (Congress) vs Sanjay Seth (BJP) vs Ram Tahal Choudhary (Ind)

Total Voters: 16,25,148

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