One is a former IAS officer, another an anti-corruption crusader, the third an erstwhile journalist and the rest seasoned politicians — a motley bunch of half a dozen is eyeing the hot seat at Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC), elections to which are scheduled on April 7.
Antu Tirkey (44), who enjoys political blessings of none other than JMM chief and Jharkhand’s disom guru Shibu Soren, was the first among the six mayoral candidates to file his nomination at the district collectorate on Thursday.
The others in the fray are former IAS Vinod Kispotta (54), former journalist Ratan Tirkey (47), JD(U) leader Lokesh Khalkho (37), activist Durga Oraon (38) and incumbent mayor Rama Khalkho, who has recently won Congress backing.
Though his formal education was restricted to Class X, Antu Tirkey’s dreams are unlimited as far as “solving complicated problems” of the state capital is concerned. “I have the blessings of Guruji (Soren). I will start my door-to-door campaign soon after symbols are allotted,” the political veteran, who has been a JMM worker for the past 22 years, sounded bullish.
A former Manipur cadre officer, Kispotta took voluntary a year ago. He has joined the civic battle with very vocal support from Mandar MLA Bandhu Tirkey, whose party ditched Khalkho and made her a turncoat.
“We will file his (Kispotta’s) nomination in a day or two. We want a seasoned administrator like him to take over the reins of RMC. With his vast experience, he can solve civic problems plaguing residents in the capital,” the MLA told The Telegraph. His candidate Kispotta, however, remained incommunicado.
JD(U) leader Lokesh Khalkho, on the other hand, is a lesser-known politician who claims to enjoy a good support base in the city. “Road, drinking water and home for the homeless will be my priority. I also want to better the public transport system in Ranchi,” Khalkho, who has also studied till Class X, said.
He will file his nomination on March 18, while crusader Oraon — who had collected his candidature form on Wednesday — is expected to submit his nomination on Friday.
Former scribe Tirkey will also file his papers on March 18, though he has already started meeting voters. “Beautification of the city, a proper drainage system, better public transport and effective solid waste management will be my priority, if am elected,” he said.
The lone woman in the fray — mayor Rama Khalkho — is, on the other hand, banking on her “good work”.
“I have put in a lot of effort to evolve systematic functioning of the civic body. My work has earned me the goodwill of residents. If I get a second term in office, I will only further my good work,” she said.
This time, the mayor’s post has been reserved for tribal candidates. Though the civic election is held on individual line, political parties can openly or tacitly extend support to candidates of their choice. So, the tribal vote bank will be highly polarised and the candidate who enjoys support of most non-tribals will come out with flying colours.
Who do you want to see as the next mayor of Ranchi?