India

NDA suffers setback in Jharkhand; Union Minister Arjun Munda, former CM’s wife Geeta Koda face defeat


Union Tribal Minister Arjun Munda during an election rally near Jamshedpur in Jharkhand. File
| Photo Credit: ANI

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) suffered a setback in tribal-dominated Jharkhand in the 18th Lok Sabha election with the INDIA bloc upsetting the saffron party’s calculations.

Of the total 14 Lok Sabha seats in the State, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won in nine while the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led INDIA bloc bagged five seats. In the 2019 election, the NDA had won 12 of the 14 seats. Despite the visits and roadshows of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP could not repeat its performance.

South Chotanagpur & Kolhan

Even heavyweight candidates like Union Minister Arjun Munda and former Jharkhand Chief Minister Mandu Koda’s wife Geeta Koda faced defeat. In South Chotanagpur region, the saffron party won only one of three seats. Mr. Arjun Munda was beaten by Congress’ candidate Kalicharan Munda in the Khunti seat in the region. The Congress also snatched Lohardaga from the BJP where its candidate Sukhdev Bhagat defeated BJP’s Sameer Oraon. The only seat the BJP won was Ranchi where BJP candidate Sanjay Seth won for the second time in a row against former Union Minister and Congress veteran Subodh Kant Sahay’s daughter Yashaswini Sahay.

In Kolhan, the INDIA bloc made substantial gains winning two seats. In Singhbhum, JMM’s Joba Manjhi defeated BJP heavyweight Ms. Koda, while in Jamshedpur, the BJP’s Bidyut Baran Mahto returned the favour, scoring a hat-trick while defeating JMM’s Sameer Mohanty.

Santhal

It is believed that whoever wins Santhal region rules Jharkhand. Among the three seats here – Godda, Dumka and Rajmahal – the BJP retained Godda while the other two went to JMM. The Santhal-Pargana region has six districts – Deoghar, Godda, Sahebganj, Pakur, Dumka, and Jamtara. In Godda, the BJP’s Nishikant Dubey defeated Congress’ Pradeep Yadav while JMM’s Vijay Hansdak scored a hat-trick in Rajmahal, with BJP candidate Tala Marandi finishing second. In Dumka, JMM’s Nalin Soren defeated BJP candidate Sita Soren, the daughter-in-law of JMM founder Shibu Soren who had quit the party and joined BJP months before the election.

Other battles

In the Palamu seat, BJP candidate V.D. Ram defeated Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) nominee Mamta Bhuiyan. In Chatra, the BJP’s Kalicharan Singh defeated Congress’s Krishnandan Tripathi. Similarly, the four seats of Giridih, Koderma, Dhanbad and Hazaribagh went to the NDA’s kitty. All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) candidate Chandra Prakash Choudhary got the better of JMM’s Mathura Mahto in Giridih while on Koderma, Union Minister and BJP candidate Annapurna Devi saw off the challenge from Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) candidate Vinod Singh. Similarly, BJP’s Dhullu Mahto won the Dhanbad seat by defeating the Congress’s Anupama Singh. In Hazaribagh, BJP candidate Manish Jaiswal defeated Congress’ Jaiprakash Bhai Patel.

The results prove that the BJP failed to establish trust among the tribals in Jharkhand and the arrest of former Chief Minister Hemant Soren for alleged money laundering has gone against the BJP. With the Assembly election in Jharkhand due later this year, the results are bound to be a wake-up call for the saffron party.



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