BJP workers enjoy a game of carom at the party camp at Jamshedpur Co-operative College on Monday. (Bhola Prasad)
May 16 is some days off, but the mood meter at rival camps BJP and JVM in Jamshedpur suggests jubilation in one and wait-and-watch in another.
What started out as a three-cornered race for the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat among sitting MP JVM’s Ajoy Kumar, BJP’s Bidyut Baran Mahto and JMM’s Niroop Mahanty has somehow mysteriously narrowed down to an Ajoy-Bidyut Baran face-off. For the record, 15 candidates are in fray for the Jamshedpur parliamentary constituency.
The vibe of BJP and JVM workers camping near Jamshedpur Co-operative College, the designated strongroom for EVMs, indicates a close contest between the kamal (lotus) and the kanghi (comb).
From Sunday, these two parties have set up tents near the college to keep watch on EVMs at the strongroom that East Singhbhum DC-cum-returning officer Amitabh Kaushal handed over to CRPF personnel at Friday 7pm after scrutiny.
The BJP camp, barely 100m from its JVM counterpart, has cards and a carom board, three fans and four drinking water containers. The mood is upbeat. Party workers are discussing the May 16 outcome with confidence.
“Hum log jit ke prati 110 pratishat ashwast hain. May 16 ka jashn ka tyari ho raha hai. Hamare netao ne hoarding se logon ka abhar vyakt kiya hamare candidate ko support karne ke liye. (We are 110 per cent sure of our win. Our leaders thanked people for support in a hoarding),” Ratan Mahto, East Singhbhum district president of BJP Yuva Morcha, said.
Mahto claimed the BJP tent was vaastu-friendly, while that of the “rival party” was not.
“Hamara tent vaastu shastra ke hisab se bana hain aur purab ki ore face karta hai jab ki virodhi party ka shamiana paschim ki ore face karta hai. (Our tent obeys vaastu shastra tenets and faces eastward, symbolising the rising sun, while our rival camp faces the west or setting sun),” he said.
“Party workers from blocks are coming on their own to the camp. They are already celebrating,” Mahto said.
In contrast, the JVM tent has five workers reading newspapers. They are quiet. The tent is sparse — cots and provision for drinking water are seen, not indoor games or fans.
When asked, JVM Sonari block president Sanjay Singh said they had energy and enthusiasm, but were not show-offs.
“Hum log showbaazi main vishwas nahin karte. Sara celebration chunav ke natije aane ke baad hi hoga. Yahan jyada bhid laga ke koi fayada nahin (We don’t believe in showing off. Celebrations will be held on May 16 after results come. There is no need to crowd the tent),” Singh said.
JVM publicity in-charge C.H. Rammurthy said the party would retain the Jamshedpur seat. “We don’t buy the logic of lucky shamianas facing east or west,” he said, adding ceiling fans would be installed at the tent by Monday night.
When contacted about the absence of a camp near the strongroom, JMM district president Ramesh Hansdah, campaigning for party boss Shibu Soren at Jamtara, said: “We reposed faith in East Singhbhum district administration as far as security arrangements go. We don’t need to put up camps near the strongroom.”