The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Parties skip real concerns in campaigns
- Big Two in mudslinging match

BJP is banking on a“NaMo wave” and anti-UPA speeches while campaigning in the state

Corruption issue is no issue at all as at least two candidates, Jharkhand Party’s Anosh Ekka in Khunti (ST) and Geeta Koda, wife of former chief minister Madhu Koda, in Singhbhum (ST) are proving to be tough opponents for the BJP and Congress. Both Anosh and his one-time chief minister Madhu Koda, are embroiled in graft cases and have served jail terms

n Congress is tying its best to showcase flagship schemes like MGNREGS while seeking votes even while slipping in anti-Modi remarks

n Ajsu and JVM are focussed on the demand for special status for Jharkhand, apparently oblivious of the fact that the state machinery has been unable to make full use of central funds and grants for several years

Ranchi, April 4: Elections in Jharkhand are being held sans local issues and corruption doesn’t seem to cut much with voters who seem to be quite used to the idea of a couple of politicians serving jail terms for graft.

In the din, real concerns of the state, like efficient administration, rapid industrialisation and lack of irrigation facilities are never mentioned.

Development economist Ramesh Sharan agrees that all political parties were debating non-issues. “Where are the issues of price rise, unemployment, poverty, hunger, food security, malnutrition et al. Both Congress and BJP are busy criticising each other,” added the senior professor of economics at Ranchi University.

Speaking in a poll rally in Tamar today, Ajsu chief Sudesh Kumar Mahto said that if the party succeeded in sending representative to the Lok Sabha, it would press for granting special status to Jharkhand.

However, he seems to have overlooked the fact that Jharkhand has a poor record of funds utilisation — barely 60 per cent of the development funds, a mix of state and central allocations, were used in the last fiscal.

JVM chief Babulal Marandi said in Dumka that his party would try to eradicate the “atmosphere of terror” while referring to Maoist violence.

Geeta Koda, campaigning in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, has adopted an anti-BJP and anti-Congress stand, trying to drive home a message that her husband and sitting MP Madhu Koda was falsely implicated in graft cases.

“The question is not about Jharkhand only. They (political parties and politicians) are making a fool of us all,” said J.P. Singh, a professor of political science at RU.

“Corruption should have been the biggest poll plank, but people have no choice but to opt for less corrupt or more corrupt,” he added.