Jharkhand’s first Chief Minister and founder of Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Parajatantrik (JVM-P), Babulal Marandi will contest elections from Dhanwar Assembly segment, JVM-P said in an official communiqué on Tuesday.
Marandi, who is said to be one of the stalwarts of politics in the tribal State, had contested the 2019 General Elections from Koderma parliamentary constituency and lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) candidate Annapurna Devi by a huge margin — the latest in his series of defeats since 2009. Dhanwar Assembly segment is a part of the Koderma Parliamentary constituency.
JVM-P – recently separated from the UPA Mahagathbandhan of Congress party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) – released its fourth list of nine candidates on Tuesday. Besides Marandi, the list included names of Ramesh Harshdhar, Bateshwar Mehta, Munna Singh, Durgacharan Prasad, Umesh Mahto, Antu Tirkey, Sunil Kumar Gupta and Kamlesh Ram.
While Harshdhar, Mehta and Singh have been fielded from Koderma, Barkatta and Hazaribag respectively, Prasad, Mahto and Tirkey will contest from Barkagaon, Silli and Khijri respectively. Gupta will contest from Ranchi and Ram will contest from Kanke.
Marandi, who served as the Chief Minister for 28 months, has not won an Assembly election in the past decade. In 2014 elections, the party won eight Assembly seats. However, seven of its legislators joined the BJP later, reducing the party’s say in the State Assembly here.
In the Lok Sabha elections earlier this year, Marandi contested from Koderma as a candidate of the Mahagathbandhan, but failed to impress voters with his promises of tribal welfare and jibes of corruption on BJP. The incumbent legislator of Dhanwar constituency, Rajkumar Yadav, represents the CPI (ML).
Before Yadav, JVM-P’s Nizamuddin Ansari won from the constituency in 2009. Besides Marandi, no other candidate in the list released by JVM-P on Tuesday has held any important portfolio or won elections in the past. Bateshwar Mehta, the party’s Barkatta candidate, served the position of General Secretary in Janata Dal (United). He joined the party in Hazaribag earlier this month.Ranchi, Khijri, Hatia and Kanke are important Assembly segments in Jharkhand.
JVM-P is likely to face tough competition from ruling BJP in all these constituencies. The latter has incumbent legislators in the aforementioned Assembly segments. BJP’s CP Singh has won from the Ranchi constituency five consecutive times. This will be his sixth shot at the Ranchi Assembly seat. Besides, sitting Hatia legislator Navin Jaiswal won on a JVM-P ticket in 2014 and later moved to the BJP. The BJP is yet to announce its candidate for Kanke constituency, where party’s Jeetu Charan Ram is the sitting legislator. JVM-P Chief Babulal Marandi