BJP winner from Giridih Lok Sabha seat Ravindra Pandey on Friday. Picture by Pankaj Singh
“No one can stop me from winning,” BJP stalwart Ravindra Pandey had declared ahead of the Lok Sabha polls in Giridih on April 17.
The election results on Friday proved that the four-time sitting MP had indeed read the signs right.
Riding on the Narendra Modi wave, Pandey clinched the rebel-hit Giridih seat, comprising the districts of Giridih, Bokaro and Dhanbad, for the fifth time in a row, convincingly warding off any anti-incumbency factor that might have set in.
Pandey, who polled 3,91,913 votes, defeated nearest rival JMM’s Jagannath Mahto by 40,313 votes with two EVMs remaining uncounted because of a snag.
EVM Nos. 120 and 170 of Baghmara Assembly could not be opened despite best efforts by technicians.
Returning officer for Giridih and Bokaro deputy commissioner U.S. Singh contacted the EC, which asked it to declare the result on the basis of the votes already counted.
“BJP candidate Ravindra Pandey has won by 40,313 votes. The EC asked me whether the votes locked in the two EVMs would have affected the results. When I said no, it asked me to declare the result,” the returning officer confirmed to The Telegraph.
There are around 900 votes in each EVM.
BJP supporters also reasoned that even if all the votes of the two EVMs were given to Jagannath, Pandey would still win.
Having got a whiff of his victory after the 12th round of counting — there were 18 rounds in all — that showed him leading by over 50,211 votes, Pandey credited his victory to three factors — Modi, excellent work by party workers and development projects he ushered in the rebel-hit constituency.
“The Narendra Modi definitely worked in my favour a big way. I also cannot forget the contribution of my party workers, who showed utmost dedication in reaching out to the voters. I have nursed this constituency for many years and except for the 2004 elections, I have won four times from this seat before,” Pandey told The Telegraph at the counting centre on Agricultural Marketing Board premises in Chas, 4km from Bokaro steel city.
So, is a ministerial berth at the Centre in the offing?
“Why not, if the party high command thinks I am fit for the job. But there are several other senior leaders in the BJP, which will finally decide who all will become ministers. So let’s see,” he added.
JMM’s Jagannath, who was largely banking on the Kurmi-Mahto vote bank, accepted his defeat while hitting out at ally Congress.
“I concede my defeat. I have lost despite being very sure of winning till a few days back. There are two reasons behind my defeat — our coalition partner (pointing to a Congress leader) had assured me that it would help me garner votes from Bermo Assembly segment. But they didn’t keep their promise,” said the Dumri strongman, who bagged 3,51,600 votes.
“Secondly, I cannot deny the fact that the Modi wave also worked in my constituency, where young people voted en mass for the BJP,” he added.
Jagannath pocketed 3,51,600 votes.On whether there would be any repercussion within the JMM and more leaders would leave the party given its dismal performance in the polls, he said: “Losing and winning is part of politics, but according to me, no big desertion will take place from JMM now.”