Shibu Soren set to win Rajya Sabha election
Only a miracle can throw up a surprise in the Rajya Sabha poll in Jharkhand, now rescheduled on June 19.
Polling for the two Rajya Sabha seats that fell vacant because of expiry of terms of Parimal Nathwani and Prem Chand Gupta was to be held on March 26 but was postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Three candidates will be contesting for the two seats. While the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) fielded its supremo Shibu Soren, BJP chose its state unit president Deepak Prakash and the Congress nominated Shahazada Anwar.
Both the JMM and BJP camps are hopeful about victory of their respective candidates but the Congress is also putting a brave front, expecting “conscious voting by the MLAs”.
There are 79 MLAs in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly at present because two seats fell vacant. While chief minister Hemant Soren who won two Assembly seats — Dumka and Barheit — vacated the Dumka seat, Rajendra Singh, the Congress MLA from Bermo, died recently.
According to the Rajya Sabha poll norms, a candidate needs the votes of 28 MLAs to win a seat in Jharkhand.
The JMM alone has 29 MLAs. Besides, the ruling combine also has 17 Congress MLAs and one each from the RJD and the CPI-ML, taking its tally to 48.
The BJP, on the other hand, has 26 MLAs after former chief minister Babulal Marandi joined the party. It also enjoys the support of Ajsu Party that has two MLAs and Amit Yadav, an Independent, taking their strength to 29 MLAs.
Saryu Roy, former BJP minister and now Independent MLA who defeated then chief minister Raghubar Das in the Assembly elections earlier this year, does not belong to any group as the lone NCP MLA Kamlesh Singh also does not pledge his support to anyone.
“No one should have any doubt about Guruji’s win,” said JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya, referring to JMM patriarch Shibu Soren who is fondly called Guruji by his followers and admirers.
“There is absolutely no problem about the numbers so far my candidature is concerned,” said BJP state president and Rajya Sabha candidate Deepak Prakash, adding he had enough support to win the election.
“The JMM and the BJP fought against each other even in the past and will continue to do so in future but I am really surprised to see the role of the Congress,” he said, explaining the Congress should have facilitated the smooth entry of “such a respected leader” Shibu Soren to Rajya Sabha instead of putting a candidate in the fray, more so when the party is also a part of the ruling combine.
“Numbers do matter but it’s also true that people apply their conscious while voting,” said Congress spokesperson Alok Dubey.
“They are our ally and we also want the Congress candidate to win,” JMM general secretary Bhattacharya said, adding they would work for him.
In the given circumstances, however, the arithmetic does not appear to be in favour of the Congress candidate.