TT: What prompted you to jump in the fray for Ranchi Lok Sabha seat?
Mahto: To give Jharkhand its special state status, to spur shifting of leading PSU headquarters here, to get proportional share in central taxes, a rail division. These issues must be strongly raised in Parliament
How effective will you be in the 545-member House?
In Parliament, we will support those who safeguard Jharkhand’s interests
Commitment to serve the masses. We began from scratch and became a force in Jharkhand politics. In 2000, I was the lone Ajsu MLA, in 2009 we won five Assembly seats and in 2012 the Hatia bypoll
Who is your main rival in Ranchi?
All are my friends! Ranchi will have a multi-cornered fight
JVM’s Amitabh Choudhary beat you at JSCA elections. You were the state home minister and Choudhary a DIG.
This proves I never misused my official position. My best wishes to him
How do you rate Ram Tahal Choudhary (BJP), Subodh Kant Sahay (Congress), Bandhu Tirkey (TMC) or Amanullah Aman (AAP)?
Choudhary, Sahay and Tirkey are familiar names. I have heard Aman has his roots in Jharkhand
Money and muscle power play crucial roles during polls. Your party leader Tileshwar Sahu was recently shot dead. A local BJP leader’s role has come under cloud.
People will reject money and muscle power
Your name figures on the rebel hit list. Any extra security cover?
I have faith in people. Extra security cover is no solution. Foolproof security can’t be guaranteed
In your eyes, who is the best prime ministerial candidate?
Anyone who gives Jharkhand justice. We often became allies in Jharkhand governments where the BJP had a decisive role. But, we contested polls on our own. This time too, we will work out our strategy after poll results come in
Ajsu projects you as Jharkhand’s CM candidate but you are moving to national politics?
In politics, nothing is static