Parties gear up for Simaria war

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By OUR BUREAU in Hazaribagh
  • Published 17.01.08

Ranchi/Hazaribagh, Jan. 17: Simaria today emerged as the latest political battlefield in the state with the last nomination papers being filed for the February 4 by-election.

State Congress president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu was present with Yogendra Baitha, former RJD legislator, who filed his nomination papers today. Baitha’s nomination comes as a blow to the RJD and the CPI that are trying to ensure the victory of Ramchandra Ram from this seat. Ram is also being supported by the JMM.

A total of 11 nominations were filed today, including that of Baitha, BJP’s Kumar Ujjwal Das and Vinod Kumar Paswan of UGDP.

The scrutiny of the nominations is expected to start from tomorrow. So far, over 15 candidates have filed nominations for the seat, which is reserved for the Scheduled Tribes category.

Baitha had earlier won from this seat in 2000. He lost it in 2005 to BJP candidate Upendra Nath Das — the father of Kumar Ujjwal Das.

The seat fell vacant following the death of senior BJP member Upendra Nath Das. The BJP decided to field Das junior, Kumar Ujjwal, who apparently is a newcomer to power-politics but enjoys the support of all the NDA partners. He is also likely to gain sympathy votes during the by-election.

In Simaria, the UPA partners seem to have decided to lock horns, instead of fighting it out together. The result of this by-election could be treated as a “public mandate” on the UPA government. Winning this seat is therefore another do or die mission for the chief minister. However, the UPA has so far failed to find out a consensus candidate.

The RJD albeit reluctantly has agreed to support the CPI candidate when the Congress fielded for RJD rebel Baitha. Through this, many suggest, the Congress wishes to prove its allegiance with the Koda.

“The RJD did not consult us before withdrawing its Simaria candidate. Why is it creating such a scene now if we have fielded a RJD rebel as our candidate?” asked Simdega legislator Niel Tirkey, on his return from New Delhi.

“The leaders sitting in New Delhi would not be affected by the Jharkhand affairs. It’s we who will have to pay dearly if we sit idle,” .

Insiders opined that after being rebuffed by the central leaders, the state chief Balmuchu and his associates have resorted to another gimmick to prove their point. “If the Congress somehow wins this seat, it will be setting a record. All the alliance partners will be forced to dance to its tune. Even if it loses the by-election it will not cause harm to the health of party organisation in the state,” commented a Congress Lok Sabha member. .