Has Congress surrendered before Jharkhand battle starts?
New Delhi, April 26: It seems that the Congress has surrendered in Jharkhand even before the start of the poll battle. As of now, the grand-old party has left the onus of campaigning on the shoulders of its alliance partners.
The Congress has joined hands with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajantantrik (JVM-P), and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) for the 14 Lok Sabha seats of the state.
The Congress is contesting on seven seats, JMM on four, JVM-P on two and the RJD on one seat.
The polling process in the state will begin in the state on April 29 in the fourth phase of on-going Lok Sabha elections.
Voting has taken place in 302 of the 543 Lok Sabha constituencies in the first three phases of polling. The fourth phase of voting in the 2019 Lok Sabha election will take place across 71 parliamentary constituencies in nine states on April 29.
Jharkhand 's Naxal-hit Chatra, Lohardaga, and Palamau will vote in the fourth phase.
With this, the voting will begin for the 14 parliamentary constituencies of the state. Voting will be conducted in Kodarma, Ranchi, Khunti, and Hazaribagh in the fifth phase on May 6. In the sixth phase on May 12, Giridih, Dhanbad, Jamshedpur, and Singhbhum will vote. The remaining Lok Sabha seats- Rajmahal, Dumka, and Godda- will go to polls in the seventh and final phase on May 19.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a rally in Lohardaga on April 24, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Amit Shah is scheduled to address a rally in Chatra on Saturday, the last day of campaigning.
Till now not a single central Congress leader or star campaigner has campaigned in Chatra, Lohardaga, and Palamau, which shows that the Congress is not expecting miracles despite forging the grand alliance.
Congress President Rahul Gandhi had visited the state and conducted a pre-poll rally in Ranchi on March 2. His rally was attended by Hemant Soren, working president of JMM and Babulal Marandi, the president of JVM.
A Congress source from Ranchi tells One India that the low morale of the party cadres would have been upped had Rahul or any other star campaigner addressed at least a rally just before the polls.
Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC) had requested Rahul Gandhi 's office for his rally in the state. Though the office of Rahul Gandhi had assured the state Congress leaders of scheduling Rahul's rally on Friday but it remained an assurance.
As per the seat sharing formula, Congress has fielded candidates in Chatra and Lohardaga. The RJD is contesting from Palamau seat.
In 2014, the Congress could not win even a single seat as the BJP won from 12 constituencies and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) got two seats.
While Chatra is a General seat, Lohardaga is reserved for Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Palamau for Scheduled Caste (SC) candidates.
According to the state election commission data, there are a total of 45,26,693 voters in the three PCs; out of which 23,85,932 are male, 21,40,750 female, and 11 third gender. Twenty-six candidates are contesting from Chatra, 14 from Lohardaga and 19 from Palamau.
In Chatra, Congress candidate Manoj Kumar Yadav is pitted against BJP candidate Sunil Kumar Singh. Though the RJD is the part of the alliance, it has given ticket to Subhash Prasad Yadav.
According to the sources, Amit Shah's rally in Chatra has been fixed due to the voters' anger against Sunil Kumar Singh, who has been accused of vanishing into thin air after winning the seat in 2014.
There was suspense over his candidature till the end but he managed to secure the ticket by wooing the Rajput lobby of the BJP.
Chatra is the largest PC in Jharkhand in terms of area (9163.58 Sq.Km.) and 4,49,030 new voters have been added since last General Elections.
The BJP has repeated former Jharkhand Director General of Police V.D. Ram in Palamau, who remained in touch with people of the area by visiting the constituency regularly. Ram is facing Ghuram Ram of the RJD.
In Lohardaga, sitting BJP MP and Union Minister Sudarsan Bhagat is pitted against Congress candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat.
Since Sudarsan Bhagat could win by a thin margin despite Modi wave in 2014, therefore the local Congress leaders are hoping to give a tough fight to the BJP as there is a sizeable number of Christian voters in Lohardaga.
Considering this fact, Prime Minister Modi had tried to woo the Christian community in Lohardaga during his rally.
Citing terrorist attacks on Churches in Sri Lanka on the Easter, he had said that the BJP was capable of containing Islamist terrorists.