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Allies cross swords in open
- Bypoll campaign hots up in final leg

Jamshedpur, June 24: The bypoll brouhaha is, finally, gaining pitch with old friends marching behind enemy lines for a liberal mud-slinging match.

Allegations are flowing thick and fast with ruling coalition partners BJP, JMM and Ajsu putting claims of a friendly fight on the backburner for a more thrilling — and ubiquitous — political jugalbandi in the remaining five days of hectic campaigning for the July 1 by-election for this Lok Sabha hot seat.

While JMM’s Sudhir Mahto is painting now bete noire and Ajsu nominee Aastik Mahto the big villain, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari is flaunting his oratorial best to take a dig at both partners for vying for the bypoll pie.

Launching a scathing attack on Big Brother BJP, Palamau MP and JMM veteran Kameshwar Baitha today termed the party anti-Harijan and anti-OBC. “BJP Harijan aur backward logon ko ghrina ki nazar se dekhti hai (BJP sees Harijans and backward class people with loathing),” he said during his padyatra at Manifit and Bhalubasa today.

The state BJP, which so far didn’t wish to hurt sentiments of its coalition partners, took a cue from Gadkari who questioned the presence of all major political parties in the fray for the Jamshedpur bypoll at an election rally at Agrico grounds yesterday, indirectly taking pot shots at JMM and Ajsu. “What will these parties do in the Lok Sabha. Join the NDA or UPA?” he had said.

The JMM, however, has taken the lead in tongue-lashing, courtesy party candidate Sudhir Mahto and senior leader Dulal Bhuiyan.

“Aastik mujhe barbaad karne par tula hua hai. Usne purey Nirmal Mahto ke khandaan ko barbaad karne ki thaan li hai. (Aastik is bent on ruining me. He has vowed to ruin the clan of Nirmal Mahto),” Sudhir said.

Former revenue minister Bhuiyan came out with all guns blazing. “Ajsu ko aisa maja chakhayenge ki zindagi bhar yaad rakhega. Yeh ek mauka-parast party hai (We will teach Ajsu a lesson that it will remember always. It is an opportunist party),” he said.

The Ajsu candidate hit back harder. “Jo kaam karega wohi upchunav jitega. JMM meri upasthiti se ghabra gayi hain. Mujhe toh janata ne khada kiya hai (One who works will win the bypoll. JMM has panicked over my presence in the fray. People have made me their candidate,” Aastik said.

Though state BJP veterans showed some restraint, lower-rung leaders openly criticised JMM and Ajsu. “Dono partiyon ka upchunav se koi lena dena nahin hai. Inke pratyashi MP banne ke layak nahin hain (Both these parties have nothing to do with Lok Sabha by-election. Their candidates are not eligible to become the MP),” a district functionary said, sipping his cuppa at the BJP election office near Aambagan, Sakchi.

Poll analysts warned that the war of words would get even bitter in coming days. “They will forget governance while on the hustings. No stone will be left unturned in this target practice,” analyst B.D. Singh said.

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