Partymen offer laddoos to Bidyut Baran Mahto at a supporter’s home in CH Area on Friday. (Bhola Prasad)
The supercop proved he was no superman. Jamshedpur JVM MP Ajoy Kumar, who won the 2011 bypoll piggybacking on the industrial city’s gratitude for his stint as SP in the mid-1990s when he tamed the mafia and extortionists, was routed today by the Modi wave.
Fifty-one-year-old Ajoy, who won a landslide victory in the July 2011 bypoll, was convincingly defeated on Friday by BJP’s new entrant — JMM turncoat Bidyut Baran Mahto — in a verdict more pro-Modi than anti-incumbency.
Though Ajoy polled 3,64,277 votes this time, higher than his 2011 Jamshedpur bypoll count of some 2.77 lakh, Bidyut Baran was far ahead by a margin of 99,874 when 23 rounds of counting were done.
This time, Ajoy trailed in all six Assembly segments, including the urban Jamshedpur East and Jamshedpur West, supposedly his bastion, and rural Ghatshila, Potka, Jugsalai and Baharagora.
In 2011, Ajoy had won by 1.55 lakh votes defeating his nearest rival Dineshanand Goswami of the BJP.
A stunned Ajoy, who left Jamshedpur Cooperative College, the counting venue, at 8.45am after getting early indications of defeat and stayed put at his Circuit House Area home the entire day, failed to offer any reason for his drubbing.
“I have no idea why I lost. I worked hard and sincerely during my stint as MP/ I obviously failed to read people’s minds clearly,” he said.
But JVM district president Firoz Khan blamed the “anti-Congress and UPA wave” for the loss despite an “improved voting percentage”.
“We paid a heavy price for the anti-Congress feeling despite people supporting our candidate individually. We are surprised with the poll outcome but apparently it was the Modi wave,” Khan said.
On why Ajoy Kumar lost despite being popular, Jamshedpur Hoteliers’ Association president and CII state convener of tourism panel (2014-15) Prabhakar Singh said: “There’s no point in voting for an MP of JVM that has no major role in decision-making in the Parliament despite supporting Ajoy Kumar as a person.”
He added that this verdict was against the UPA.
“Price rise, corruption and economic slump were the major triggers for anti-incumbency on a national level. People believed a government under Narendra Modi would help rid these problems,” Singh added. “This was a Lok Sabha election where national issues were paramount.”
Singh’s statement was supported by academic and head of political science department at ABM College, Golmuri, S.K. Mohapatra.
“In 2011, I had voted for Ajoy Kumar. Yes, he has delivered as an MP. But this election was about uprooting corruption and giving Narendra Modi a chance at the Centre to replicate the Gujarat development model,” he said.
He added this was why even Ajoy fans chose the lotus and not comb. “Bidyut Baran’s win is Narendra Modi’s victory,” summed up Mohapatra.
A beaming Bidyut Baran agreed. “Like other parts of the country, in Jharkhand too, people wanted to strengthen Narendra Modiji at the Centre. But, this win has increased my responsibility. I will raise local issues in Parliament,” he said.
For now, Ajoy is going to Delhi on Sunday. He added he would work under JVM chief Babulal Marandi’s leadership. Perhaps Marandi, who lost in Dumka would be more in need of consolation.