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Geeta’s growth bait to retain hubby’s bastion

Chaibasa, April 15: The sound of poll bugles reverberated through tribal-dominated Singhbhum constituency even as the Election Commission’s curbs on campaigns came into effect this evening.

Candidates in the fray for the second round of polling on Thursday, April 17, made their last-ditch efforts to woo voters.

If BJP’s Laxman Gilua promised the moon to the electorate, Jai Bharat Samanta Party candidate Geeta Koda sang the song of development, highlighting work done by her husband Madhu Koda during his tenure as the chief minister.

Geeta claimed to be confident of defeating main contenders Gilua and Congress’s Chitrasen Sinku, retaining her husband’s seat.

Today, Geeta focussed on door-to-door campaign, making a personal connect with voters. She went around in Sonua and Chakradharpur blocks, while her husband Koda campaigned in Jhinkpani and Noamundi.

“You must remember how my husband forced the railway authorities to appoint over 500 gangmen here,” she told voters in Chakradharpur.

Interacting with the villagers, the Jagannathpur MLA emphasised on women’s empowerment and asked them to be self-reliant. “If I win, I will make all efforts for your welfare,” she told the women voters.

In the tribal-dominated Sonua, she met village heads and sought their support. The 30-year-old MP aspirant added that the sitting Singhbhum MP might have been implicated in scams, but the kind of development he had done in the area, no one else had done that.

“From roads to engineering and polytechnic institutes, Madhu Koda had launched a number of people-centric projects in the area during his stints as chief minister and subsequently, a member of Parliament,” she claimed.

Geeta added Gilua and Sinku were also elected as MPs in the past but they had nothing to show.

“If Narendra Modi (BJP’s prime ministerial candidate) can showcase Gujarat to woo voters, then why can’t I make development my poll plank?” she asked, talking to The Telegraph in Jagannathpur recently.

The Jai Bharat Samanta Party did not have any star campaigner to root for Geeta, unlike her rivals. But she did not leave any stone unturned to reach out to electorate, especially women, across the constituency.

“Flanked by a group of party workers, she toured rural belts and interacted with women folk. She spent as much time interacting with the people as possible,” said Geeta’s media secretary Mansa Mahto.

Consequently, Geeta has been able to strike a chord with women voters, many of whom have pledged their support to her.

Hum Geetaji ka samman karte hai, kyunki wah humari fikre karti hai. Hum sabse barabar milti rahti hai aur humar samasyaon ka samadha dhundte hai (We respect Geeta as she cares for us. She regularly visits us and tries to find out solutions to our problems,” said Shila Majhi, a resident of Mesera village in Jagannathpur.

Another woman, Gurubari Samant, from the same village said, “It was for her initiative that we could start a self-help group and boost our financial condition. No other MLA had done it.”

l Singhbhum votes on April 17


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