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Only Ajoy cool to security drill

Lok Sabha candidates of Jamshedpur seem so focused on winning that they have stopped watching their backs.

So much so that East Singhbhum district administration’s arrangements to provide security to nominees while on rural campaigns have found only one taker.

According to SP (rural) and election cell in-charge Shailendra Kumar Sinha, apart from sitting MP and JVM candidate Ajoy Kumar, none of the 15 nominees vying for the Jamshedpur seat had sought the security cover.

“We are keeping track of the movement of candidates in areas falling under the Jamshedpur constituency that are considered Naxalites strongholds. But, except for sitting MP Ajoy Kumar, no candidate has approached us for availing security,” he said.

Sinha said the administration was ready to provide security to any candidate — within a span of half an hour — owing to rebel presence in areas like Ghurabandha, Ghatshila, Dhalbhumgarh, Potka, Dumaria, Mosabani and Patamda.

“The rebels are against democratic processes, including elections. Besides declaring their opposition through posters, they have targeted candidates. Only recently, a landmine was recovered on the campaign trail of JVM candidate Kumar at Ghurabandha. But despite such incidents, candidates don’t seem perturbed,” he said.

The senior officer added that the degree of security cover would depend on candidates’ threat perception and the places they were visiting. “We always try to get venues checked for mines if the nominee in question is high-profile,” he explained.

Of the 15 candidates in the fray from Jamshedpur, four belong to rural areas. However, the three primary contenders, JVM’s Ajoy Kumar, BJP’s Bidyut Baran Mahto and JMM’s Niroop Mahanty, are from the city and have been visiting rural areas daily.

Kumar said he always followed the directives of the district administration.

“These instructions are given keeping in mind the better interests of candidates and society at large. They should be followed,” he said.

BJP nominee Mahto cited his own reasons for not availing of the security cover.

“That the administration is providing security to candidates is a good gesture. But moving around in villages with a police cordon makes me uncomfortable. Moreover, I am afraid that the villagers might find me unapproachable if I am surrounded by security personnel,” said Mahto, who campaigned at Bangurda village in Naxalite-infested Patamda block on Tuesday.