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Ajsu chief in fray for capital seat

Ranchi, March 21: Ajsu party chief Sudesh Mahto today joined the fray from the Ranchi parliamentary constituency, making it a four-cornered battle with Congress heavyweight Subodh Kant Sahay, BJP’s Ram Tahal Choudhary and JVM’s Amitabh Choudhary.

“We are a worker-driven party. It is the decision of the party that I should contest the Ranchi seat,” Mahto said.

Apart from Mahto, the party announced three other names today — Sishir Toppo from Lohardaga, Amit Ranjan from Palamau and Arjun Singh from Rajmahal seat.

Mahto is expected to file his nomination papers tomorrow.

The Ajsu chief’s entry into the fray will disturb the carefully crafted strategy of the BJP, which is banking on sizeable population of the Mahto community to snatch the seat from the Congress.

Though BJP’s Choudhary is popular Mahto face, Ajsu chief and his party enjoy greater appeal among the community members.

Choudhary, understandably, will not admit his fears. “Main to dushmano se bhi nahi darta hun, Sudesh to mere chela tha..(I am not scared of my enemies… Sudesh was my disciple),” Choudhary said affectionately.

But a senior BJP leader admitted the former deputy chief minister would spoil Choudhary’s chances.

“It has become difficult for Choudharyji,” he added.

A section of Congress leaders believes if the Ajsu chief eats into the BJP vote bank, it will provide a level-playing field for Sahay, who is facing a formidable challenge from the BJP.

Ajsu sources said couple of factors — political and personal — motivated the party to field Mahto from Ranchi.

Mahto is the MLA from Silli, which falls under the Ranchi parliamentary constituency. This apart, the Ajsu won the 2011 by-election held for the Hatia Assembly seat — also a part of the Ranchi parliamentary seat.

“Calculations are very straight. We are in a comfortable position in these Assembly constituencies. Mahto is a young leader with a clean image,” a party leader said.