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JMM holds on in Santhal Pargana

Ranchi, May 16: Regional strongman Shibu Soren’s JMM held its own amid the saffron surge in Jharkhand after the Lok Sabha election results were announced on Friday, winning two seats in its tribal bastion of Santhal Pargana.

While Soren, the sitting MP from Dumka, retained his seat with 3,35,815 votes, party nominee Vijay Kumar Hansdah put up a tough fight in Rajmahal and was leading by over 23,000 votes when last reports came in.

“Guruji is still a force to reckon with in Santhal Pargana. Our candidates have performed well in all the places. We accept and respect the mandate of the masses,” Vinod Kumar Pandey, JMM’s core committee member and spokesperson, told The Telegraph.

Soren and his chief minister son Hemant had campaigned hard in the tribal stronghold of Santhal Pargana ahead of the polls.

Soren had even gone to the extent of claiming his supremacy in the region.

Koi issue-wussu nahi hai, Shibu Soren hi sab kuchh hai,” the JMM patriarch and now eight-time MP had told The Telegraph on April 21, two days before the election in Dumka.

Vijay, in his early 30s, is the other JMM hero, taking on Hemlal Murmu of the BJP despite the Modi wave.

The JMM did not contest in Godda, leaving the seat for ally Congress who fielded Furkan Ansari.

But, Ansari finished second behind the BJP’s Nishikat Dubey.

The other two seats the JMM had contested outside Santhal Pargana were Giridih and Jamshedpur.

In Giridih, party nominee Jagannath Mahto lost to BJP’s Ravindra Kumar Pandey.

In Jamshedpur, Niroop Mahanty, a former Tata Steel executive, came third, polling 1,38,109 votes.

The loss was big for JVM chief and former chief minister Babulal Marandi, who himself was pushed to a distant third in Dumka (1,58,122 votes). JVM candidate in Rajmahal Anil Murmu also fared poorly.

In fact, the party, which fielded candidates in all 14 Lok Sabha seats, could prove its mettle only in Jamshedpur and Godda where respective nominees Ajoy Kumar and Pradeep Yadav could garner over 3 lakh and 1.9 lakh votes.