Bypoll dates awaited but parties in poll mode
The Election Commission is yet to announce the dates for bypoll in two vacant Assembly seats of Jharkhand — Dumka and Bermo — but the political parties appear to have already come in election mode.
The Dumka seat fell vacant after chief minister Hemant Soren who won two seats retained Barhait and vacated Dumka while the death of Congress MLA Rajendra Prasad Singh warranted bypoll in Bermo.
Chief minister Soren reached Dumka on Monday afternoon and will return on Wednesday while Congress state president and finance minister Rameshwar Oraon returned to Ranchi after spending two days in Bermo mobilising party workers for byelection.
BJP state president and Rajya Sabha member Deepak Prakash and leader of its legislature party Babulal Marandi have already toured Dumka recently.
Both Soren and Singh had wrested these two seats from the BJP in the last Assembly election in December 2019.
Though Soren had won the Dumka seat in 2009, BJP’s Louise Marandi won it in 2014.
Similarly, Rajendra Singh who had won the Bermo seat six times since 1985, lost twice, including 2014 to Yogeshwar Mahto of the BJP.
So both the JMM and the Congress will try their best to retain their respective seats while the BJP will also fight hard to restore those.
Minister Oraon, who held a booth level workers’ meeting at Bermo on Sunday, asked the party members and workers to start working seriously as the byelection would be announced soon.
He also listed the works that the present UPA government did or was doing in the state such as waiving of farmers’ loan up to Rs 2 lakh, free electricity to those who consume up to 200 units per month and issuing 15 more ration cards to the needy.
“Oraonji addressed party members at booth, panchayat and block level meetings and created enthusiasm among them,” said party spokesperson Alok Dubey.
Soren, on the other hand, began his Dumka tour with a meeting with local prominent citizens on Monday evening but has tight schedule for both Tuesday and Wednesday.
He will attend various programmes at villages like Dhobna Harinbahal, Sanpchala, Mohanpur, Parsimala and Rajbandh under Masalia and Dumka blocks during those two days and also interact with members of women self-help groups and distribute funds under credit linkage scheme among them.
The chief minister will also inaugurate or lay foundation stones for several projects there, besides inaugurating three operation theatres, ultrasonography facility and Covid testing lab at Dumka Medical College Hospital.
“If you ask about the upcoming bypoll, we are ready even if it’s held tomorrow,” JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said when asked if Soren’s tour was aimed at mobilising voters’ support, adding he has to do all these as a people’s representative and a chief minister.