BJP banking on borrowed players on a sticky wicket

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BJP banking on borrowed players on a sticky wicket

Friday, 24 May 2024 | Anupam Sheshank | RANCHI

BJP banking on borrowed players on a sticky wicket

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is banking majorly on borrowed candidates in Jharkhand in the ongoing Lok Sabha Elections in the state even as Party loyalists continue to feel sidelined and neglected.

Barring former Rajya Sabha MP Samir Oraon trying his luck from Lohardaga and Godda MP Nishikant Dubey who are BJP veterans and former DGP of Jharkhand Vishnu Dayal Ram who is trying for a third stint as Palamu MP who can also be said a Pure BJPite, all other contestants from BJP are party hoppers who have found shelter in the saffron fold. Ram had joined the BJP after retiring from the IPS at the age of 60, barely months before the 2014 elections.

Out of a total of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, the BJP is contesting on 13 and has left one seat, Giridih, for its ally AJSU. The third candidate who can be said to have almost seasoned in the Lotus Party is former Jharkhand Chief Minister and serving Union Agriculture and Welfare Minister Arjun Munda who joined the party over 25 years ago from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Munda is contesting from Khunti where he had won the last elections in a recounting of votes with a thin margin of just 1445 votes.

Majority of BJP candidates this parliamentary elections are from the JVM, RJD, JMM and Congress, mainly from the JVM whose founder and first and former Chief Minister of Jharkhand Babulal Marandi is himself the the BJP State President . Interestingly, the Leader of Opposition Amar Bauri too is from the JVM! Other ex-JVM leaders contesting the polls now on BJP tickets are Sanjay Seth from Ranchi, Manish Jaiswal from Hazaribagh, Dulu Mahto from Dhanbad and Kali Charan Singh from Chatra.

Dumka's BJP candidate Seeta Soren is Dishom Guru Shibu Soren's daughter in law who has recently switched sides claiming neglect by the JMM supremo and jailed ex-Chief Minister Hemant Soren, his brother in law. Koderma's candidate and Union Minister Annapurna Devi  had come to the BJP in 2019 from the RJD. Once the target of BJP for corruption, former Chief Minister Madhu Koda is also an ally since his wife Chaibasa MP Geeta Koda is contesting from her seat on a BJP ticket this time. She has also recently joined the party in 2024. Vidyut Varan Mahto contesting from Jamshedpur had joined the BJP in 2014 from the JMM. Tala Marandi trying to challenge sitting Rajmahal JMM MP Vijay Hansda had contested the last assembly elections on an AJSU ticket.

So Barring three, as many as 10 candidates are outsiders!

Allotment of tickets mostly to outsiders has naturally caused much heartburn in the state BJP where many feel that they are only for carrying the party flags since there is no scope for grass root workers to get promotions. There is a lot of resentment in the state BJP and one senior party leader said the BJP is no more the party of Vajpayee (Atal Behari)  and Advani (Lal Krishna). The party is now reserved for party hoppers who simply land here to grab a ticket, he added.

Another disgruntled BJP leader said, " The BJP was nourished by the upper caste, but now it has become a party of Vaishya community. The Upper caste like Rajput Brahmin, Bhumihaar and Kayastha who nurtured and were major party supporters are being sidelined. No Rajput or kayastha was given a ticket in Jharkhand this time," he said. "Other beneficiaries to get tickets are SCs and STs, but that too because some seats are reserved for them. The two Rajya Sabha MPs-- Aditya Sahu and Pradip Verma are from Vaishya community," he added buttressing his point.

Recently the state BJP served show cause notices on ex-Hazaribagh MP and former Union Minister Jayant Sinha and Dhanbad MLA Raj Verma, for not campaigning for BJP candidate etc, which has attracted much critism even from party workers one of whom has gone on record lamenting the timing of the show cause.  While the Indi Alliance sees this as BJP's frustration because of losing the elections, many party loyalists find it in bad taste.

Barring Ranchi, the BJP is not confident of any seat, said a former minister. "Every seat has a tough contest and the result can be surprising at many places. The BJP was over confident of getting all 14, but now all even the candidates are admitting secretly that there is a tough fight everywhere and it will be not surprising if BJP gets confined to a single digit tally in Jharkhand, confided a BJP candidate.

And the visible impact of borrowed players is just the semi finals in the parliamentary elections. The finals, the assembly elections in Jharkhand will completely stump out the BJP, says a senior leader who has graduated from the ABVP!

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