Nov. 24: The Godda Lok Sabha bypoll has become a bout of heavyweights with four sitting MLAs, including a minister, deciding to contest from the seat.
If last-minute withdrawals do not take place, JMM’s Madhupur legislator Hussain Ansari, Congress’ Jamtara MLA Furkan Ansari, BJP minister Pradeep Yadav, who represents Poreyahat, and RJD’s Sanjay Yadav, the Godda MLA, will fight the multi-cornered contest, polling for which is slated for December 12.
Nominees of the JMM and the RJD are expected to file papers tomorrow — the last date for doing so.
A special core group meeting, held under the chairmanship of JMM president Sibu Soren at Dumka today, finalised Ansari’s candidature.
“The presence of Furkan Ansari and Sanjay Yadav does not worry us. We are confident of repeating Dumka in Godda. Our calculation is that the BJP might finish third in the race,” JMM chief whip Hemlal Murmu, who represents Barhet, said.
The BJP’s posturing over the Godda “test” has been discreet after the bitter lesson learnt in Dumka where JMM president Soren won by a margin of close to one lakh votes.
Five social combinations constitute the voter base in Godda — minorities, tribals, upper castes (mainly Brahmins), Yadavs and the non-Yadav backward communities like Telis, Sudhis and Kumhars. The BJP has been eyeing the Yadav and the upper caste votes, while the RJD nominee is seen as the “leader” of the Yadavs.
The presence of Ansari as the Congress’ nominee is seen as an effort to woo the minority voters.
The JMM leadership admitted that the key to the poll lay with the manner in which the minority community votes in Godda. “The tribes and the non-Yadav backwards are with us. The nationwide anger with the BJP will be reflected in the voting behaviour of the upper castes. For the minorities, the major issue is to defeat the BJP. This makes me confident of a JMM victory at the hustings,” Murmu said.
The JMM decision is aimed at garnering the 2.80 lakh votes of the minority community, mostly from the weaver (Ansari) group. The Congress will also eye the same social group.