A quick recce of cases under probe or the Birsa jail inmate list is enough to give even a rank outsider a clear, er, dirty, picture of Jharkhand’s politicians, but clean aspirants for the 2014 Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha polls may prove to be game-changers.
Suprisingly, politics is not a dirty word yet for many policemen and professionals eyeing the coming polls.
Hopefuls include Punjab cadre IPS with Jharkhand roots Arun Oraon, former principal accountant-general Benjamin Lakra, former IAS Vinod Kispotta, former director-generals of police V.D. Ram and Neyaz Ahmed, former additional director general of police and JSCA boss Amitabh Choudhary and corporate honcho Jayant Jaipal Singh.
Of them, Lakra is the only one eyeing the Vidhan Sabha polls. The former bureaucrat, who is highly respected, fought Assembly elections as a Congress candidate from Kolebira in 2009 but was defeated by Anosh Ekka of Jharkhand Party (Anosh). This time, the aspiring MLA wants to contest from Simdega in the Vidhan Sabha polls likely to be held by the end of the year.
Oraon, Choudhary and Singh, keen on contesting Lok Sabha polls from Lohardaga, Ranchi and Khunti, respectively, are eyeing national parties.
Oraon, currently the inspector-general of police in Punjab, is the son of noted tribal leader Bandi Oraon.
His keenness on the prestigious tribal-dominated reserved seat of Lohardaga is no surprise. Besides, Geetashree Oraon, Congress MLA from Sisai and a minister in the Hemant Soren government, happens to be his wife.
Right now, BJP’s Sudarshan Bhagat is Lohardaga MP. If Arun Oraon succeeds him, Jharkhand will get a power couple in Arun-Geetashree.
“By February 5, it will be clear from which party he will contest,” said one of his aides, referring to BJP and Congress. Oraon was recently on deputation in Jharkhand and has served as an IG in Santhal Pargana.
Singh, who earlier headed Essar Group’s Jharkhand operations, is making his presence felt in Ranchi with public meetings. Recently, he raised his voice against an allegedly error-riddled Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) master plan, citing tribal concerns were overlooked by the private agency that drafted it.
Choudhary, whose eagerness to start his political innings as Ranchi MP is well known, is still not sure which party will give him a ticket, though his campaign for Narendra Modi earned mileage. “If rebuffed by the BJP, he may contest as an Independent,” an aide said. Congress MP and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay represents Ranchi now.
On the other hand, Ram’s political affiliations are known. He joined the BJP a few months ago and wants to contest the Palamau Lok Sabha seat. He is active in Palamau area, a Scheduled Caste (SC) reserved seat.
Ahmed sounded keen on either being at the helm of the state election commission, or joining politics.
Kispotta, initially close to the JMM, is keeping options open, but has evinced interest in contesting Lok Sabha elections.
Vimal Kirti Singh would have been on this power list, but the former principal secretary of state energy department may contest Lok Sabha polls from either Dhanbad or Bihar. Watch this space.