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Ranchi's Rebel MP fears missed goal

BJP MP-turned-rebel-turned Independent Ram Tahal Choudhary is mulling over what went wrong with his electoral strategy

By Vijay Deo Jha in Ranchi
  • Published 14.05.19, 1:01 AM
  • Updated 14.05.19, 1:01 AM
  • 2 mins read
MP Ram Tahal Choudhary, who contested as an Independent candidate, inspects his mango orchard at his Ormanjhi residence in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

Ten lefts are left for May 23, but for many candidates, the election verdict is out.

A week after Ranchi Parliamentary seat elections on May 6, Sanjay Seth of the BJP and Subodh Kant Sahay of the Congress busy in campaigns with no time to relax with their family whereas third contender, sitting BJP MP-turned-party-rebel-turned Independent Ram Tahal Choudhary, at his sprawling Ormanjhi residence, is mulling over what went wrong with his electoral strategy.

A BJP veteran from its Jana Sangh days and a five-time MP, Kurmi strongman Choudhary, 77, who resigned from the BJP for not being given a ticket this time, contested as an Independent to give a “tough fight” to the BJP’s Seth. His son Randheer also resigned from the BJP. Right now, Choudhary has no immediate plans for both.

Poll feedback seems disappointing, what went wrong? The Kurmi strongman said it could have to do with his new symbol as an Independent, the football. “Generations of voters know the lotus (NJP symbol) is my symbol. This election, football was my election symbol. I think I could not make everybody familiar with this fact, that football is my election symbol and not the lotus,” he said. He added, “I think most old voters who want me as Ranchi MP pressed on lotus (on the EVM).” He also accused the BJP and Ajsu leaders and workers, including Ajsu Party chief Sudesh Mahto, of distributing money among voters in rural areas to cast their votes for the BJP.

Does he regret not going quietly into the sunset after the BJP denied him a ticket? More specifically, was contesting against the BJP as an Independent a mistake? “Koi mistake nahin kiya aur na hee koi paschatap hai. Agey kya hoga wah agey dekhengen abhi kyu tension lein,” he said, looking at his fruit-laden mango trees.

Seth and Sahay, who seem to be the prime contenders for the Ranchi MP seat, are both outside the capital at the moment.

Sahay from the past four days is campaigning in Patna to support actor and Congress candidate Shatrughan Sinha, who left the BJP, and is contesting Patna Sahib constituency in Bihar.

“I am shuttling between Patna and Jharkhand this past one week because I have to campaign for UPA candidates in Jharkhand too. And Shatrughanji is a good friend of mine plus I have an old association with Patna, it is natural that I will support my friend. He will win,” Sahay said, adding he was campaigning defying his doctor’s orders to rest his sore throat, and would return to Ranchi on May 17.

Shatrughan Sinha had also campaigned for Sahay in Ranchi.

BJP’s Seth has been camping in Santhal Pargana — where elections for Dumka, Rajmahal and Godda will be held on May 19, the seventh and final phase of this long-drawn-out elections — along with chief minister Raghubar Das and other party leaders. Seth has been tasked to make necessary arrangements for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s scheduled in Deoghar on May 15.

“In the BJP, all party workers contest in an election, not just the candidate. We are all working to make our candidates win. Ajsu Party workers are also campaigning with full dedication,” Seth said over phone from Jamtara.