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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

JMM to field four-term MLA and former cabinet minister Joba Majhi from Singhbhum

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 11.04.24, 06:46 AM
Joba Majhi

Joba Majhi

The JMM has decided to field four-term MLA and former cabinet minister Joba Majhi from the Singhbhum (ST-reserved) parliamentary constituency in Jharkhand to quell infighting and present a women-friendly face of the party.

The Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat has become a prestige issue for the JMM after the Congress sacrificed its traditional seat to the JMM when incumbent MP Geeta Koda left the Congress and joined the BJP in February this year.

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“It has been a traditional seat of the Congress right since Bagun Sumbrui. We also had a sitting MP who switched over to the BJP at the last moment. However, respecting our coalition partner’s demand, we gave up the seat as they have five MLAs (out of six Assembly constituencies under the Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat). It is now for the JMM to retain it,” said Congress spokesperson Rakesh Sinha.

However, a Congress leader in West Singhbhum district admitted on the condition of anonymity that Koda joining the BJP has left the Congress with no “credible” face to fight the polls without the JMM support and hence they gave in to “pressure” from
the JMM.

JMM central general secretary Vinod Pandey, who announced Joba Majhi as the candidate from Singhbhum on Tuesday evening, exuded confidence about winning the seat.

“We will win this seat defeating the BJP. We decided for Joba Majhi as we wanted to have a woman representative from this seat (the only woman candidate announced by the JMM in this Lok Sabha polls) and also for her clean image,” said Pandey.

He, however, denied any infighting among JMM leaders over candidature from this seat and also claimed that making a non-Ho tribal candidate would not dent the party’s prospects.

There was a discussion in the JMM about giving tickets to Kharsawan MLA Dashrath Gagrai, a Ho tribal.

“Dasrath Gagrai’s name was almost final. However, West Singhbhum district leaders opposed his candidature on the ground that he does not belong to the district or from any of the Assembly constituencies falling under the Lok Sabha seat. Even Sukhram Oraon’s (Chakradharpur MLA) name was rejected as he was a non-Ho. There was a consensus on Manoharpur MLA Joba Majhi as she has a good rapport with all MLAs and enjoys popularity both with Ho and Santhal tribals,” said a JMM source.

Joba Majhi is the wife of tribal martyr Devendra Majhi who spearheaded the fight for tribal rights in Saranda, Porahat and Kolhan forest areas.

She was a cabinet minister during the tenure of Babulal Marandi and Arjun Munda as chief ministers. She had contested as an Independent candidate then. She was also a cabinet minister in the Hemant Soren government till January 2024.

Poll analysts claim that it will be an interesting and tight battle between Koda
and Majhi.

“Geeta Koda, who holds considerable clout among Ho tribal thanks to her husband Madhu Koda (coal scam-tainted former chief minister of Jharkhand), will face a tough challenge from Majhi as all the four JMM MLAs have pledged to give leads from their Assembly constituencies. Chief minister Champai Soren (representing Seraikela constituency under Singhbhum Lok Sabha seat) is taking a personal interest in the campaigning for Joba Majhi,” said a JMM senior leader.

Singhbhum votes on May 13.

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