Newspapers in hand, residents engage in a political adda over tea at Morabadi grounds in Ranchi on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Vote for duffer, bluffer or muffler — that’s a joke doing the rounds on the Internet.
Around 50m away from Ranchi University campus in Morabadi, a bunch of first-year history students heatedly debate Modi vs Rahul, sipping tea and munching on samosas at makeshift stall.
At Ranchi district collectorate canteen in Kutchery, the current ruling party JMM’s seemingly weakening grip over its stronghold Santhal Pargana forms the basis of their breakfast political adda.
And after an early morning workout session at a posh Morabadi gymnasium, a group of fitness freaks relax over a newspaper, cursing dynasty politics right from Jharkhand to New Delhi and the rest of India.
Lok Sabha election dates announced, political parties are swinging into action in Jharkhand. Though the state will give only 14 seats to the 543-seat-strong Parliament, political undercurrents here are complex — not to say unpredictable and amusing.
Capital city Ranchi, which goes to polls on April 17, is feeling the heat.
Though so far JVM and Trinamul have announced Amitabh Chaudhary and Bandhu Tirkey as candidates for the coveted seat, the poll buzz is everywhere and among all demographics, Be it tea stalls, restaurants, offices, educational campuses.
What change do history students of RU want to see this election?
“I want political parties to talk about jobs, equality and youth policy. This, neither national nor regional ones have addressed,” said first-time voter Prashant Baitha. “If I don’t find anyone suitable, I will press NOTA (none of the above),” he said.
His friend Basant Kumar said he was tired of vote bank politics, another name for herd-mentality voting based on caste or community affiliations.
“I don’t know how and when this will end. It is so strong and well-entrenched here that when you approach your local leader in your constituency for any help, he first asks you for your full name. Depending on whether I am and he is general caste, Kurmi, Dalit or Yadav, he would know if I voted for him. His so-called help would depend on this. Pathetic,” Kumar said.
According to Kantatoli-based Rajendra Kumar, found chit-chatting with friends in Morabadi grounds, the very concept of politics has to change.
“I want my MP to create employment opportunities irrespective of age. If a 65-year-old physically fit man or woman wants to work, he or she should have job prospects. So should a 15-year-old who doesn’t want to study but earn,” Kumar said.
Samri Lal, earlier a JMM worker, said the state should come first and then the individual.
“Locals leaders here shout in markets but fear raising their voice in Parliament. That has been the trend in Jharkhand so far. Clean, well-educated people with an inclusive bent of mind is what we all hope for as Ranchi’s MP,” he said, declining to state whom he would vote for.