Close contests with hidden surprises

Modi charisma versus local concerns in four key seats

  • Published 12.05.19, 11:33 AM
  • Updated 12.05.19, 11:33 AM
  • 3 mins read
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Holding tight: Bidyut Baran Mahto A Telegraph picture

JAMSHEDPUR

Candidates (23) and net worth:

Bidyut Baran Mahto (BJP): Rs 1.7 crore

Champai Soren (JMM) Rs 1.3 crore

Voters: 17. 01 lakh (Tribals, OBC, Kurmi, SC, Muslims, Sikhs and upper castes)

The contest: Straight contest between sitting MP Bidyut Baran and mahagathbandhan-backed JMM Seraikela MLA Champai Soren. Bidyut is relying on Modi's charisma and his own work, especially getting groundwork started for the Dhalbhumgarh airport and an overbridge at Jugsalai, efforts to revive mines at Mosaboni and Jadugora and new village roads, Champai, who mentored Bidyut during the latter’s his JMM days, is relying on the Santhal connect, support of minorities and traditional supporters of mahagathbandhan partners

Issues: Super slo-mo in NH-33 revamp, poor healthcare infrastructure, job crisis, delay in execution of piped water supply in non-Tata areas and not enough government-run higher educational institutions

Voterspeak: Delivery of government schemes is really delayed. I will vote for someone who ensures government welfare schemes are executed timely who does something to improve the government medical college and hospital (MGM). Rajesh Tiwary (46), Tata Steel employee 

2014 polling (%): 66.33

Winner: Bidyut (BJP) defeated Ajoy Kumar (then sitting JVM MP) by 99,876 votes

Vote share (%): BJP 44.24, JVM 34.72, JMM 13.16

Vote splitter: Siddharth Gautam
Vote splitter: Siddharth Gautam A Telegraph picture

DHANBAD

Candidates (20) and net worth:

Kirti Azad (Cong): Rs 8.40 crore

P.N. Singh (BJP): Rs 4.71 Crore

Siddharth Gautam (Ind): Rs 1.15 crore

Voters: 20.48 lakh (Kurmi, Vaishya, upper caste, Muslim, SC)

The contest: Two-time BJP MP P.N. Singh is facing strong anti-incumbency and is likely to have a close fight with cricketer-turned-politician Kirti Azad who has the political legacy of his father, Bihar CM late Bhagvat Jha Azad. Making it a three-cornered battle is surprise factor Siddharth Gautam alias Manish Singh, younger brother of BJP MLA From Jharia Sanjeev Singh, contesting as an Independent, whose popularity in colliery areas may prove crucial

Issues: Displacement, pollution, exploitation of coal workers working in mines contractually, underground fire and subsidence, water supply, power cuts; poor law and order, poor sanitation in Jharia and Katras

Voterspeak: I will vote for change as I am fed up with frequent power cuts, irregular water, perennial traffic jam, overflowing drains, stink from heaps of unattended garbage and bad law and order, but I don't want to divulge who I want to vote for. Krishna Kumar (45), cyber café owner

2014 polling (%): 64

Winner: Singh of BJP defeated Cong rival Ajoy Dubey by 2,92,954 votes

Vote share (%): BJP 47.5, Cong 21.9,

Marxist Coordination Committee 9.62

Ally acid test: CP Choudhary
Ally acid test: CP Choudhary A Telegraph picture

GIRIDIH

Candidates (15) and net worth:

Chandra Prakash Choudhary (Ajsu Party): Rs 1.2 crore

Jagannath Mahto (JMM) Rs 3 crore

Voters: 16.47 lakh (Upper caste, OBC, ST, SC, Muslim)

The contest: State water resource minister Choudhary of the BJP-backed Ajsu is in a direct contest with mahagathbandhan candidate of JMM Jagannath Mahto, in a seat that has been a BJP stronghold in past few general elections. BJP sitting MP Ravindra Kumar Pandey was not given ticket as the seat went to ally Ajsu as part of the NDA seat-sharing deal

Issues: Lack of piped drinking water supply in town, delay in a canal from Khandoli dam for water

Voterspeak: It is unfortunate that no MP addressed the issue of drinking water and irrigation water. Summers are the worst. I will go for a candidate who gives a time-bound promise on water," said Alok Kumar, first-time voter and college student

2014 polling (%): 64.25

Winner: Pandey (BJP) defeated JMM's Mahto by 40,313 votes.

Vote share (%): BJP 40.4, JMM 36.25 and JVM 5.92

Challenger: Geeta Koda
Challenger: Geeta Koda A Telegraph picture

SINGHBHUM (ST)

Candidates (9) and net worth:

Geeta Koda (Cong): Rs 1.41 crore

Laxman Gilua (BJP): Rs 95 lakh

Voters: 12.68 lakh (tribals, other backward classes, Mahtos, SC, Muslims and upper caste)

The contest: Geeta Koda, wife of coal scam tainted former CM Madhu Koda, who is popular in Ho-dominated tribal communities and is banking on the support base of mahagathbandhan partners JMM, Congress, JVM to defeat sitting MP and state BJP chief Laxman Gilua. Gilua is banking on Prime Minister Narendra Modi's charisma to retain the seat

Issues: Poor implementation of central government welfare schemes, especially health, in rural areas. In urban areas, civic problems such as lack of proper sewerage and garbage clean-up, erratic power supply, poor public transport and piped water supply

Voterspeak: The sitting MP has not done anything significant. But we do want a stable government and strong leader like Narendra Modi as PM. There is virtually no other alternative PM except Modi. Devendra Singh (42), Chaibasa trader

2014 polling (%): 69

Winner: BJP's Laxman Gilua defeated Geeta Koda, then from family-run Jai Bharat Seemanta Party, by 87,524 votes

Vote share (%): BJP (38.11), Jai Bharat Seemanta Party (27.11), Cong (14.06), JVM (4.49)