The Telegraph
Sunday , March 16 , 2014
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Snub for clean faces, tickets for switch stars

Ranchi, March 15: Lady Ticket Luck seems kinder to political turncoats than professionals with a clean image, who left their jobs perhaps hoping to replicate the SP-turned-corporate executive-turned MP Ajoy Kumarís success story.

Originally from Jharkhand, Punjab cadre IPS Arun Oraon quit his plum IG post to join the BJP, but found his hopes of contesting from Lohardaga dashed when the saffron party announced sitting MP Sudarshan Bhagatís name as its candidate for the ST reserved seat.

Senior IAS Vimal Kirti Singh opted for the VRS and joined the BJP in the hopes of contesting from Dhanbad or Jamshedpur. Singh, who served as resident commissioner of Jharkhand in New Delhi and principal secretary of state energy department, joined the saffron party in Delhi and was reckoned by many to be a sure-shot candidate. Technically, Oraon and Singh can look forward to getting the Jamshedpur seat. But as many BJP veterans are eyeing the coveted seat, former civil servants may have a slim chance.

Retired IAS Mukhtiar Singh and HEC former CMD G.K. Pillai who similarly joined the BJP havenít found their names on the list of 13 nominees already announced.

Itís the same story across parties. Corporate honcho Jayant Jaipal Singh and former IAS Binod Kispotta left their jobs to join the Congress. Though Singh didnít spell out his preference, insiders said he wanted to contest from Khunti, the ticket for which the Congress ultimately gave Kalicharan Munda. Kispotta, who also didnít get a party ticket, said he was open to contesting Vidhan Sabha polls. Oraon, who is married to Congress MLA and state HRD minister Geetashree Oraon, hinted his hopes from the BJP were not dead. ďLetís wait. I will talk later,Ē he said.

But Pillai frankly put himself outside the running.

Many others said they were not comfortable talking to the media at this juncture.

Lucky professionals to get tickets include former additional director general of police and JSCA boss Amitabh Choudhary whom the JVM has fielded from Ranchi, and director-general of police V.D. Ram who is the BJP nominee from Palamau.

Far luckier were seasoned politicians, who switched over parties to avenge hurt egos, reinvent themselves or give fillip to flagging careers.

In a curious case of musical chairs, senior Youth Congress leader Vijay Hansdah shifted to the JMM for a Rajmahal ticket, which he got, but caused decades-long Soren loyalist MLA Hemlal Murmu to leave in a huff and join the BJP. The saffron party rewarded his defection with a Rajmahal ticket.

Kameshwar Baitha, who won the seat in 2009 on a JMM ticket, was unhappy when the party handed it over to the Congress in the seat-sharing pact. Baitha left the JMM for TMC, which promptly announced his candidature from the SC reserved seat.

Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch MLA Bandhu Tirkey and Independent MLA Chamra Linda also took TMCís refuge in the run-up to LS polls and got Lok Sabha tickets of Ranchi and Lohardaga. Congress MLA from Bishrampur Chandra Shekhar Dubey joined TMC and got the Dhanbad seat.

Niel Tirkey, former Congress MLA and Simdega party chief, also joined Ajsu to contest Khunti seat after he was denied a ticket from Congress.

Sinha faces stir

Around 30 BJP workers, led by Daru block president Suresh Kumar, sat on a dharna in front of Yashwant Sinhaís house in Hazaribagh on Saturday, protesting against the partyís decision to field his son from Hazaribagh. They claimed Jayant was not the right choice, and wanted the MP and former Union minister to contest again.

Ajsu gain

Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto inducted former BJP leader Nagmani into the party in Ranchi on Saturday evening. Nagmanai, a former Union minister, is hoping to bag the ticket to the Chatra seat.