|Amitabh Choudhary stands tall in Pee Pee Compound, Ranchi, on Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
His otherwise glowing countenance has tanned, the gruelling campaign having taken its toll. But, Amitabh Choudhary — the JVM’s trump card against Congress and BJP in Ranchi — is bullish that his sunny show over the past month will pay rich electoral dividend.
With just a day left for campaigning, the JSCA boss attempted a super knock with road shows, bike rallies and one-to-one meetings on Monday. Knowing best what a great unifier cricket can be, he generously sprinkled his final appeal with anecdotes from the game, besides using anti-crime parallels.
The party’s penultimate campaign day began at 10am.
Scores of supporters waited for Choudhary at Firayalal Chowk. A campaign vehicle fitted with megaphone blared a musical appeal, “Kanghi chhap mein vote deba re, hey dada, hey nana ekey bhulba nahi, ekey chhorba nahi (Don’t forget to vote for the comb)”.
Choudhary, with another army of supporters, reached over an hour late, but no one seemed to complain.
The chowk reverberated with deafening slogans as the poll caravan proceeded to Old HD Road, where BPL students of a private training institute were waiting to meet Choudhary.
“When Virat Kohli comes to play, you think whether he will score a century and help India win. But, I am new on the field. Give me a chance to bat and I will show you what I can perform,” he said.
The crowd cheered, but did not miss his omission of Ranchi lad M.S. Dhoni. “Poltiks hai bhai poltiks hai (This is what politics is),” whispered one youth to another. “Dhoni toh Sudesh ka dost hai. (Dhoni is Sudesh Mahto’s friend).”
The Ajsu chief, whom Choudhary had defeated to win the JSCA crown, is his worst bęte noire in this Ranchi race.
“Gentlemen, I follow only one religion. And it says add glory to Ranchi and Jharkhand. If anybody comes in the way, I will deal with them just as I dealt with Surendra Bangali and Anil Sharma,” Choudhary flashed his anti-crime ace.
Dreaded gangster Bangali, arrested by then Ranchi SSP Choudhary, is currently serving life term for murder at Hazaribagh jail. Anil Sharma, too, is behind bars in Bihar.
In between his cricket and crime anecdotes, the MP hopeful kept running a comb (JVM symbol) on his bald head, sending his audience into raptures.
In the same vein he targeted Mahto without naming him: “Those who are corrupt are saying they will wipe out corruption. How funny is that? Those who have looted Jharkhand are worse than criminals. Punish them by voting for the deserving.”
Choudhary unleashed similar crime and cricket rhetoric against sitting Congress MP Subodh Kant Sahay during his road show in Lalpur. “When a player comes to the field, you guess how he might perform based on his track record. While electing your MP, you must look into the past.” Sahay’s brother Sunil figures in last year’s mayoral poll muddle.
The JVM candidate visited Hatia, Doranda, Tharpakhna and other areas before wrapping up late in the evening.