Durga Oraon flashes the victory sign at district collectorate in Ranchi on Wednesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
His PILs have put many a politician — former chief minister Madhu Koda, former ministers Anosh Ekka, Harinarayan Rai, Bhanu Pratap Sahi and Kamlesh Singh to name a few — behind bars. And now, anti-corruption crusader Durga Oraon wants to get his hands dirty to purge the political cesspool. Or so it seems.
Oraon’s grand entry into the Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) poll fray on Wednesday partly eclipsed another significant development — incumbent mayor and Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch turncoat Rama Khalkho’s induction into the Congress in Delhi.
Khalkho, who had quit Mandar legislator Bandu Tirkey’s party because she was denied support for a second term in the civic office, joined the national party at a high-profile function attended by local MP Subodh Kant Sahay and the Congress’s state president Pradeep Balmuchu. The party will extend her tacit support in the RMC elections.
In Ranchi, accompanied by three bodyguards and a dozen-odd supporters, Oraon visited the office of additional district magistrate Ravi Shankar Verma, who has been appointed the returning officer for the RMC mayor’s election, to get his candidate form.
“I will take two days to fill this up and submit my nomination on Saturday,” Oraon, already working on his neta look in a spotless white kurta-pyjama, told The Telegraph.
The man in his late thirties may have studied only till Class VIII, but has tall dreams. “You know I have been fighting against corruption. If I am elected mayor, I will clean the civic body of corrupt practices, besides working for the development of the city,” he said.
Oraon is confident of his win because he believes he has many supporters in people who have benefited from his selfless crusade. He also believes that he can win it alone (without the tacit support of any political party) because people known him for his individual and sustained campaigns against unscrupulous politicians.
Meanwhile, the first day of nomination saw no candidate file papers. “Around 228 forms were issued today (Wednesday). No candidate has submitted his or her nomination yet,” said Mukul Lakra, district public relations officer.
However, like Oraon, many aspirants for the posts of mayor and ward commissioners visited the district collectorate. And most sounded equally confident.
“I am sanguine of my victory. I have always helped my neighbours and people in need, and know they will support me in the election,” said Mamta Prasad, a contender for ward No. 23 in Upper Bazar. She added that she will file her nomination on March 15.