Obsession of caste politics continues to haunt political parties in State in selection of candidates even after seven decades of Independence. There are half a dozen constituencies in State, where two major political alliances have put up candidates of same castes—with a hope to garner votes from castes having sizeable presence in that particular Lok Sabha segment.
In Khunti, the seat reserved for tribal, the main battle is between two Mundas. The BJP has put up former Chief Minister and party’s biggest tribal face, Arjun Munda. Standing against him is Kali Charan Munda, two times MLA from Tamar and brother of cabinet minister in Raghubar Das’s government Neelkanth Singh Munda. Both Arjun Munda and Kal Charan, belongs from Munda community having a sizeable presence in Khunti, Tamar, Kharsawan. The Khunti parliament is spread in six assemblies segment Khunti, Tamar, Kharsawan, Kolebira, Torpa and Simdega assembly segments spread in three districts. In six assembly segments three segments have sizeable presence of Munda communities however two assembly segments Kolebira and Torpa have Christian community presence which will be a deciding factor in the upcoming elections.
In Chatra and Koderma, the two parliament seats which borders Bihar, the fight is between Yadavs. In Chatra—Congress and RJD the two alliance partners of Grand Alliance have put up Yadav candidates. The RJD candidate, Subhash Yadav is party’s fund raiser and Bihar businessman, while the Congress has put up its senior leader and sitting Barhi MLA Manoj Kumar Yadav. From BJP, sitting MP Sunil Singh is trying his luck. The constituency has presence of Yadavs, Rajputs and Scheduled Castes along with backwards communities. Similar is the social demography at Koderma the neighbouring constituency of Chatra. Here too the two strong contender of seat Annapurna Devi of BJP and CPI (ML) Raj Kumar Yadav are from Yadav community.
Giridih, the seat which is considered as BJP bastion, this time the fight is between two Mahtos. All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) the alliance partner of BJP has fielded Chandra Prakash Chaudhary the cabinet minister in Raghubar Das government, while JMM has relied upon its sitting Dumri legislator Jagarnath Mahto. There is a saying in Giridih that those who get Mahto votes easily reach the Parliament.
In Santhal Pargana too, caste politics plays an important role in deciding candidates. From Santhal Pargana Dumka seat, the fight is between JMM patriarch and party chief Shibu Soren and BJP rookie Sunil Soren. Both Shibu and Sunil Soren are Santhali tribal. Riding on crucial Santhali votes Shibu Soren has reached parliament for eight times from Dumka seat.
A BJP leader requesting anonymity said, “BJP do not promote caste politics, but many a times caste equation in a constituency is such that BJP too is not behind in fielding a candidate from the caste having string presence in the seat.”
Politian analysts claim that such caste politics is dominant in areas bordering Bihar, but in this election caste politics is seen in tribal areas too which is not a good sign.
Political analyst and former VC of Ranchi University, VP Sharan said, “In this election we seeing that political parties are much selective in choosing candidates from the caste which has dominance in that particular region.
In urban areas where there is no dominance of single caste, choosing candidates on caste lines is less, but in rural areas where caste plays an
important role in elections, political parties go for candidates having dominance of his or her caste.”