The Telegraph
Thursday , April 3 , 2014
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Lok Sabha litmus test for sitting MLAs

Ranchi, April 2: The Lok Sabha elections are going to be a litmus test for sitting MLAs across the Assembly segments in the state.

The Assembly polls in Jharkhand are likely to be held around six months after the general election results are announced on May 16.

Whoever forms the government at the Centre, the general elections will be the best opportunity for all parties to gauge their strength in various Assembly segments, ahead of the battle for the Vidhan Sabha, and thus they are leaving no stone unturned to re-establish their dominance in their respective strongholds.

Almost all parties have strategically made their sitting MLAs in-charge of poll campaigns in their respective domains.

Again, the number of sitting MLAs was one of the main deciding factors when parties chose parliamentary constituencies they wanted to fight for.

Like the JMM chose to contest Dumka, Rajmahal, Giridih and Jamshedpur parliamentary constituencies — it has four seats in its share as per an understanding with the Congress — because it has a sizeable number of MLAs there to take care of the party’s poll campaigns.

JMM central committee member Supriyo Bhattacharya claimed that his party was confident of retaining the Dumka Lok Sabha seat, where five out of the six Assembly segments are being represented by the party MLAs.

However, the party was not confident about Palamau seat and thus the party left it for ally RJD, despite winning it in 2009. Reason: JMM does not have a single MLA there.

For the same reason, the BJP is apprehensive about its prospect in Palamau. “We had won the Palamau parliamentary seat in the past. But the situation is a bit different now and we ought to be more careful,” said senior BJP leader Raghuvar Das, while talking to The Telegraph.

Das was referring to the fact that the BJP doesn’t represent any Assembly segment under the Palamau constituency. While the Congress won Daltonganj, Bishrampur and Bhavnathpur Assembly seats, RJD grabbed Hussainabad, JD(U) Chhatarpur and JVM Garhwa in the 2009 Vidhan Sabha polls.

This time, JVM chief Babulal Marandi has decided to contest from Dumka against JMM chief Shibu Soren, leaving Koderma, a seat that he won in 2009 and 2004.

Though JVM claimed it to be a strategic move, sources said Marandi was not confident of winning the seat this time.

The Koderma Lok Sabha constituency comprises Assembly segments of Koderma, Barkattha, Dhanwar, Jamua and Gandey. In 2009, JVM won Dhanwar and Jamua seats, while RJD bagged Koderma, BJP grabbed Barkattha and Congress managed Gandey. Also, Dhanwar MLA Nizamuddin Ansari has been notorious for his reported anti-party activities.

Marandi, however, claimed his party would win the seat again. “I will be clarifying at the opportune moment why I decided to contest from Dumka. We are in comfortable position in Koderma. However, it is true that sitting MLAs will play a key role to ensure their parties’ success in the Lok Sabha polls,” he added.

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