Hell hath no fury like a crusader scorned.
Assets whistleblower Durga Munda — aka Durga Oraon whose PIL spree had toppled the scam-tainted Madhu Koda government six years ago — has decided to openly support sitting Congress MP Subodh Kant Sahay in Ranchi after the Bahujan Samaj Party, which gave him an election ticket, failed to support his campaign.
At a sudden news conference in the capital on Sunday evening, 39-year-old Durga made the unexpected and vengeful announcement. “I have decided to support Subodhji. I am frustrated with my party for not offering me support. Subodhji has done a lot for Ranchi and after pondering, I have decided to back him. From tomorrow (Monday), I will campaign for him,” he said.
On how he was siding with “corrupt” politicians (Sahay’s brother was named in last year’s mayoral poll cash muddle), Durga snapped: “Let people think whatever they want to. I have announced my support to the Congress and I will ensure its win in Ranchi.”
Has he informed the party high command (read Mayawati)? “Pata chal jayega unko bhi (She will get to know too),” Durga Munda was defiance personified.
He rued that being with the BSP was affecting his visibility and he would have needed an Almighty campaign to take his crusading competence to Parliament from Ranchi.
Durga, who failed to bag an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) ticket, was about to contest the Lok Sabha hot seat as a candidate from Mayawati’s BSP. But, while his heavyweight and resourceful rivals are on an overdrive wooing the electorate, the humble activist hasn’t been able to campaign in the right earnest in the absence of BSP support and money muscle.
Ranchi goes to polls on April 17, along with five other constituencies in the state. Curtains on campaigning in these seats will come down in the next 48 hours. With less than two days remaining, every candidate has intensified efforts to leave a last-minute impression on voter psyche.
Sunday saw bike rallies of Congress, BJP and Ajsu in the capital and its fringes.
Sitting Congress MP Subodh Kant Sahay, who is seeking re-election, also held a marathon meeting in HEC Township. Similarly, BJP’s veteran challenger Ram Tahal Choudhary busied himself in a padyatra in Nagri and its adjoining pockets since morning.
Ajsu chief and candidate Sudesh Mahto met supporters at his residence till 11am and then rallied in Kanke till evening. JVM’s Amitabh Choudhary camped in Silli Assembly constituency since morning to hold nukkad sabhas. Even AAP nominee Amanullah Aman, seen as a candidate with least potential to win, had his promotion vehicles go zip, zap, zoom on capital arteries.
And Durga? Well, he was seen nowhere.
“Kuch nahi kiye aaj. Kaam tha Nagri mein toh wahin aaye hai. Phir ghar chale jayenge. (Did not campaign on Sunday. Had some work in Nagri, so came here. Will go home after work),” he had said over phone earlier in the day, his voice unmistakably disenchanted.
A week ago, Durga was last seen pedalling through Ranchi’s streets with a small bunch of supporters in tow.
Today, the anti-corruption crusader has no one rallying for him. His party, which doesn’t even have a toehold in Jharkhand, has conveniently left him to fend for himself.
“Kahan se campaign kare. Party ke taraf se koi sahyog nahi mila abhi tak. Mere paas paisa nai hai (How am I supposed to match the campaign blitz? The party isn’t being very co-operative and I don’t have the money),” Durga said, reconfirming that the Congress has his backing.