Elections are going to be held on tribal seats in Jharkhand and will see a close three-way contest. Latest News India

Khanty/Singhbhum/Lohardaga: Three Scheduled Cast Reserve Lok Sabha seats – Khanti, Singhbhum and Lohardaga – going to polls in Jharkhand on May 13, are currently in a tight contest between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the India Bloc, though some independent candidates are in the fray. are Impact on electoral dynamics

Three SC reserved Lok Sabha seats – Khanti, Singhbhum and Lohardaga – will go to polls on May 13 (representative photo).

While BJP won Khanti and Lohardaga in 2019, Singhbhum was won by Congress. In 2019, the BJP won 11 constituencies in the state and its ally All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU) won one seat, and the remaining two – Singhbhum and Rajmahal in Santhal Parganas – Jharkhand Mukti Morcha. The alliance led by .

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However, the BJP's margin of victory in tribal reserved seats was narrow, with the saffron party winning Khonti and Lohardaga by slim margins of 1,445 and 10,363 votes respectively. In Singhbhum, the Congress defeated the BJP by 72,155 votes.

Tribal Minister Arjun Munda is facing election heat in Khanty.

“It is difficult to predict the result with certainty as everything is hot this time, whether it is the election campaign or the people's reaction. However, some things are clear. Arjun Munda wins from here and becomes minister. Expectations are high. One visible project I remember was a free health fair in Khanti. Overall, it has failed to make a mark,” said Bir Singh Bodra, a scheduled tribe member.

Bhola Ram Sahu, who runs a steel fabrication shop on the Khanti-Chaibasa National Highway, said Congress candidate Kalicharan is banking on the Manda tribal votes and Arjun on a section of his Manda community apart from the non-tribal votes.

“Last time, Arjun won in Kharswan Assembly and Tamar Assembly where there is a sizeable population of Kurmis. Arjun Manda is also preferred in urban pockets and Kalicharan is stronger in the rural belt. Much depends on Who can hold their forts on polling day,” said Sahu, who described himself as a staunch BJP supporter.

Khanty Lok Sabha Constituency consists of six assembly constituencies out of which two are held by BJP and four by Congress. Congress has traditionally been strong in tribal-dominated assemblies. In the Christian-majority Samdiga assembly seat, through which Rahul Gandhi's new yatra passed, Heradhar Bhoi, a Gond tribal leader, said he was inspired by Gandhi and would go to his village to vote this time. He said that people are talking about voting for change.

Khonti hit the headlines in 2017 for the Pathal Gudi movement. And one face of the movement, Babita Kuch, is in the fray as an independent. Apart from Kuchap, Aparna Hans from the Jharkhand Party led by former Kolbera MLA and minister Enos Ekka is also in the fray.

Congress says these candidates will make an impact, BJP claims they will benefit Arjun. “Be it a turtle or a goose, all the votes that go to him will help us. But what is more worrying for the party is the pattern of voting in the Pathalgudi affected area. Last time many people boycotted the elections. But this time they are likely to participate. If they choose to vote for the Congress, it could make a difference, especially in a tight contest,” said a BJP leader. Wished not to be revealed.

In Singhbhum, the tables have been turned.

In Singhbhum, sitting Congress MP Geeta Kora, wife of former chief minister Madhav Kora, who won in 2019, is contesting on a BJP ticket this time. He is up against Juba Majhi, a five-time Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) MLA from Manoharpur and a former minister in the cabinet of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren.

The only Congress member of the Lok Sabha from Jharkhand and one of the five working presidents of its state unit defected to the BJP in February this year.

Singhbhum has six Lok Sabha assembly constituencies and all are with the ruling JMM-Congress alliance. This seat has traditionally seen a direct contest between the Congress and the BJP. However, since 2009, when Madhu won the Singhbhum Lok Sabha as an independent, the Kora family has been a major factor in the constituency, which is dominated by the Ho clan community.

Besides, the chatter of 'cheating' by Koras among Congress supporters, the identity of the Ho tribal sub-group is a major talking point in the constituency. According to political activists of all parties, the Ho community constitutes about '60-70 per cent' of the population in Singhbhum and is therefore largely represented in Parliament by members of the Ho community.

Majhi is a Santhal, the most dominant tribal sub-group in the state. Chief Minister Champai Soren, who represents the Saraiki Assembly, is also a Santhal. However, his cabinet colleague Deepak Bairua belongs to the Ho community and has been most instrumental in supporting Majhi in his fight against Kora.

Robi Lakra, president of the social group Crook Sarna Jagran Manch, said that the people of the area would not like to lose their identity.

“This is the only seat where we have a presence as it is an identity issue for about 60-70 per cent of the population here. People have not taken it well, like Geeta Kora during the election campaign by JMM workers. What was surrounded and attacked,” Lakra said.

Geeta was allegedly assaulted in April while campaigning in Gumhariya and Mohanpur.

Manoharpur resident and activist Ashok Verma said, “I don't think it's a Ho versus Santhal issue this time. It's true that the area has supported members of the Ho community, but in 1991, Krishna Mardi, a The work track record and accessibility of the candidates will be more important factors here,” he said.

Arun Nag, a Congress worker sitting at the JMM election office in Manoharpur, said that he was angry with the way Geeta joined the BJP.

“We supported her with full strength last time and that's why she won decisively. This time we are also supporting the JMM candidate as she has done a lot and for the people. Also very accessible.

After the death of former MP and state president Laxman Galva, the BJP was looking for a big face. Local party leaders struggling against Koras dominance in the zone are worried. They fear that if Kora wins, the family will become the most dominant force in the BJP in the Kulahan belt,” said a BJP leader from the Chaibasa district unit.

LOHRDAGA – BJP removed MLA twice, JMM rebel creates uncertainty.

The Lohardaga Lok Sabha seat has been hotly contested in the last two elections and with JMM stalwart and three-time MLA Chamra Linda contesting this time, the fight has become triangular.

Lohardaga has five assembly seats in the Lok Sabha and all five seats are held by Congress and JMM legislators. The Congress has fielded its former state unit chief Sukhdev Bhagat, who lost to BJP's Sudarshan Bhagat in 2019 by a mere 10,000 votes. This time leaving Sudarshan behind, the BJP has fielded its National Scheduled Tribes wing president Sameer Oraon. Member of the Sabha.

While locals feel that Linda's entry is beneficial for the BJP, Congress supporters deny that Linda will hurt their fortunes.

“His politics is based on his aggressive demand for Sarna Code in census for tribals. He is also well connected because of his social initiative of promoting youth clubs in villages. In 2009, he joined the Congress. pushed K Rameshwar Oraon to the third position and polled 1.18 lakh votes and in 2014, when he contested from the TMC, he polled around 96,000 votes. [Trinamool Congress] ticket. The fate of the BJP will depend on its performance,” said Binod Singh, a resident of Lohardaga.

The Sarna Code proposes a separate religious code for tribal communities in India who follow Sarna or nature worship.

Ramesh Kumar, in-charge of the Congress election office in Lohardaga, said the 2019 election results reflected the limited influence Linda would have in the election. Even if you look at the numbers, in 2009 and 2014 he got around one lakh votes. It is not that all those votes are anti-Congress. If that was the case, all those votes should have gone to the BJP in 2019 when Linda did not contest. Rather, their votes were evenly split and the difference between the Congress and the BJP was just 10,000. So if he gets even a few votes this time, he will eat the votes of both BJP and Congress,” said Kumar.

While Linda faces external threats, the Congress candidate is also fighting an internal battle. Former Lohardaga MP, Rameshwar Oraon currently represents Lohardaga in the Assembly and is not campaigning for Congress' Sukhdev.

Similarly, Mandar MLA Shilpi Neha Turki, daughter of state working president Bandhu Turki, is also not supporting him. Even party in-charge Ghulam Ahmad Mir had to warn the leaders in a recent meeting. “He told the party leaders that the assembly ticket would depend on the number of votes Bhagat gets from his assembly constituencies,” said a party leader on condition of anonymity.

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