The Telegraph
Friday , April 18 , 2014
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Quintet keeps cool as EVMs buzz

Sporting a spotless white kurta-pyjama and bundi, Subodh Kant Sahay looked calm and composed as he walked out of his Dhurwa residence in Ranchi on a hot Thursday. It was 10am by the watch.

Wife Rekha by his side, the senior Congress leader, who is seeking re-election as an MP from the seat, made his way straight to the black SUV waiting for them and headed to a nearby temple.

After all, this was the day when his fate and also that of the party’s would be sealed and a last-minute prayer to the Almighty was a must.

Bhaiya (as Sahay is referred to by party members) went to sleep really late,” said one of his close aides at his residence.

The former Union minister was supposed to cast his vote at 9am, but was late by almost an hour and a half.

“I am winning. There is no Modi wave anywhere. Congress is strong everywhere. As far as Ranchi is concerned, I am serving people here since the past 37 years and believe that the masses will vote for me,” a very confident Sahay told The Telegraph soon after casting his vote at Dhurwa Mahila Samiti at 10.30am.

For the next few hours till 2pm, he went on a whirlwind tour of his polling booths in Dhurwa, Hatia, Harmu and Bariatu.

Sahay’s rivals, like JVM nominee Amitabh Choudhary, were no less optimistic.

The Jharkhand State Cricket Association (JSCA) chief, who cast his vote at a booth in the posh Ashoknagar area of the capital early at 8.30am, said given his track record in delivering promises, he was sure that residents would vote for him en masse.

After spending a few hours at his office-cum-residence at Ashok Nagar Road No. 1, the former IPS officer hit the streets. Till 2.30pm, he was busy inspecting the voting pattern on the rural fringes in Kanke Assembly segment.

Ajsu chief and former deputy chief minister Sudesh Kumar Mahto, preferred to spend most of the time at Silli, his home Assembly constituency. Around 9am, he went to vote at a school in Lagam village along with wife Neha.

In the afternoon, Sudesh toured neighbouring Ichagarh constituency that comes under Seraikela-Kharsawan district, but is a part of the Ranchi Lok Sabha seat.

“Everything is peaceful here. Voting has been good. I hope people have voted for me in large numbers,” the Silli MLA said over phone from Ichagarh, 100km from Ranchi, when The Telegraph reached him around 3pm.

BJP nominee and former MP Ram Tahal Choudhary remained anchored at his Ormanjhi home, around 25km from the capital, for the better part of the day.

“I have already exercised my franchise at a government middle school in Kuchu, which falls under Khijri Assembly segment (part of Ranchi seat). I am not desperate like my opponents, as I am confident of winning. I will spend the entire day in Ormanjhi village and may return to Ranchi in the evening,” a relaxed Ram Tahal said.

For Bandhu Tirkey, the day started early.

After casing his vote at 8am at a polling station at Banhora village, the Trinamul Congress nominee parked himself at his village, taking stock of poll proceedings over phone till 10am.

A few hours later he dropped in at Ranchi. He visited the booths at St Anne’s School and a few more on Purulia Road, Church Compound, Tharpakhna and other localities till 3pm.

“I am getting overwhelming support from a cross-section of people,” he said.