Jharkhand CM faces rebel on home ground

Poornima Joshi Jamshedpur | Updated on December 05, 2019

Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das

At Jamshedpur that polls on December 7, Raghubar Das is locked in a triangular contest with a BJP rebel and Congress

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das’ bid for a sixth consecutive term from the BJP stronghold in Jamshedpur (East) is being challenged by his own Cabinet colleague Saryu Rai, with the Congress straining to underline issues of economic slowdown in this industrial town with debutant Gaurav Vallabh, a teacher of finance in Xavier Institute of Management (XLRI).

Jamshedpur has been a seat of the BJP’s political experiment with social engineering since 1995 when the party ideologue KN Govindacharya knocked out the local stalwart Dinanath Pandey, a Brahmin with local clout, with Raghubar Das who was a fledgling OBC leader with humble origins. Dinanath Pandey contested as a rebel but Raghubar Das triumphed and has never lost from Jamshedpur (East) since then.

But this time around, Das is being extra cautious on his home-ground, with the curse of sitting CMs losing their seats — Shibu Soren, Arjun Munda, Babulal Marandi, Madhu Koda and Hemant Soren — becoming a talking point in local gatherings. Das’ Cabinet colleague Saryu Rai was denied his ticket from the neighbouring Jamshedpur (West), so he decided to challenge the CM on his home ground.

“Our fight is not with the BJP. We are supporters of Modiji. But when a marriage is arranged, we don’t ask about what the bridegroom’s father does, we enquire about whether the groom himself can be a provider. Raghubar Das is not a provider and this is an Assembly election. We backed Modiji but we don’t back Raghubar Das. We are backing Saryu Rai,” said Vinod Pande, a BJP supporter who is campaigning for Saryu Rai.


According to Congress workers, this is a classic case of shadow boxing and people would vote on real issues of joblessness and economic slowdown. “We have the CM who is the BJP candidate and then we have another candidate who asks for votes because he was not given a BJP ticket. Voters see through this at a time of economic crisis and joblessness,” said Congress candidate Gourav Vallabh.

Published on December 05, 2019

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