Flanked by CM Raghubar Das, MLAs CP Singh, Naveen Jaiswal, Jitu Charan Ram, Ranchi mayor Asha Lakra among others, Sanjay Seth filed his papers for Ranchi. Seth has replaced BJP’s outgoing MP Ram Tahal Choudhary on this seat.
Former CM Arjun Munda filed his nomination in Khunti accompanied by outgoing MP Karia Munda, Ajsu Party chief Sudesh Mahto and Khunti MLA Neelkant Singh Munda. Former RJD President Annapurna Devi, who was given the party ticket replacing outgoing MP Ravindra Rai, completed the formalities in presence of other senior party leaders in Giridih.
Ram Tahal Choudhary, who rebelled against the BJP after being refused a ticket, also filed his nomination as an independent candidate from the Ranchi seat. He was accompanied by hundreds of supporters in Ranchi.
The three seats are crucial not only for BJP, which is keen to win all 14 LS constituencies in the state, but also for chief minister Raghubar Das. He has worked overtime to ensure he is present beside each of the candidate either during the nomination process or at the rally irrespective of the geographical distance covering all the three parliamentary seats in three districts within a few hours.
Annapurna Devi, who recently joined BJP, was the first to file her nomination in Giridih for Koderma seat. Pitted against her is JVM-P chief Babulal Marandi and CPI (ML)’s Rajdhanwar MLA Raj Kumar Yadav. Canvassing for Annapurna at a rally at Jhanda Maidan, Das mocked the grand alliance, invoked national sentiments and launched a pinpointed attack on Babulal but without taking his name.
“The mahagathbandhan is an alliance of the corrupt and thugs without any policy. Their only aim is to defeat PM Narendra Modi. I appeal to voters of Koderma to give the mahagathbandhan, led by the pro-Pakistan Congress, a befitting reply this elections. I am sure they will do so,” Das said.
Hinting at Babulal Marandi without naming him, Das said: “Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, five are reserved for ST candidates. But a former CM doesn’t have the courage to contest from these seats because he knows that the adivasis have realized the true character of the self-proclaimed tribal leaders,” he claimed.
Das then joined former CM Arjun Munda in Khunti for a road show before heading to Ranchi for Seth’s nomination in the afternoon. Briefly talking to reporters in Ranchi, Das said his party and Ajsu-P will win all the 14 seats in the state. Earlier in the day, BJP exhibited a grand show of support base for Sanjay’s nomination as 5,000-odd supporters descended on Morhabadi ground and took out a padyatra escorting their candidate for filing his papers. Seth is up against Congress’s Subodh Kant Sahay and Ram Tahal Choudhary.
“I am 100% sure of winning. In the last five years, our government in the state and at the Centre have succeeded in touching the lives of every poor. At the same time, the world has seen the strong leadership of PM Modi,” said Seth, who visited the historic Pahari temple in Ranchi in the morning.
A senior BJP leader explained how crucial these three seats are for the CM and the party. “We have taken a risk by dropping our sitting MPs and fielding fresh faces. This has already led to widespread factionism within the party. The outcome of the polls will also set the tone for assembly elections later this year. The CM, being one of the three members of the party’s state committee, was authorized to recommend names to central leadership and he obviously had a greater say while finalizing the candidates, even though the final decision always rests with the high command,” said an MLA, unwilling to be named.