Jharkhand’s Santhal Pargana votes on Sunday

Written by SabrangIndia | Published on: May 16, 2019

The areas which are known for protesting Adani group and lynching incidents go to polls on May 19. BJP had won 12 Lok Sabha seats out of 14 in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand and is now eying the remaining two seats Rajmahal and Dumka, currently represented by Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.


The Bharatiya Janata Party is making extensive poll preparations to dent Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s citadel in the Santhal Pargana division, which comprises the three Lok Sabha seats of Dumka, Rajmahal and Godda, that will go to polls in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections on May 19.
BJP had won 12 Lok Sabha seats out of 14 in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls in Jharkhand and is now eying the remaining two seats Rajmahal and Dumka, currently represented by JMM.
JMM leader and former chief minister, Shibu Soren, 75, is contesting Lok Sabha elections from Dumka that will go to the polls on May 19.
BJP has fielded Sunil Soren and Hemlal Murmu again to take on JMM sitting MPs Shibu Soren and Vijay Hansdak from Dumka and Rajmahal Lok Sabha seats respectively.
In 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Sunil and Hemlal were defeated by small margins of 39,193 and 41,337 votes respectively.
The BJP’s victory foundation in Godda was laid by Janardhan Yadav in 1989, however, non-BJP MPs Suraj Mandal and Furqan Ansari too had represented the seat.
Fate of 13 candidates of Godda Lok Sabha Constituency election will be decided by 17,14,862 electors in the final phase of LS elections on May 19.
The constituency has 9,05,085 male, 8,09,773 female and four third gender voters. Among these, 23,166 electors are of the age group 18-19 years and would be casting their vote for the first time.
In 2014, the polling percentage at Godda constituency was 65.98 per cent which was a leap of around 10 per cent from 2009 elections which recorded a polling percentage of 56.55 per cent.
BJP has a stronghold in the area with the Party’s candidate Nishikant Dubey being the MP for two consecutive terms.
Also, among the six assembly constituencies, BJP has MLAs in four excluding Jarmundi and Podaiyahat where the sitting MLAs are from Indian National Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), respectively.
Also, in past six elections, BJP had won the LS seat four times. While Nishikant Dubey had been the MP in 2014 and 2009, BJP's Jagdambi Prasad Yadav won the seat in 1999.
However, in 2004 INC's candidate Furqan Ansari won the election while in 2002 by-elections the seat was won by JVM(P)'s Pradeep Yadav.
This year, the seat will witness a tough competition between BJP’s two-time winner and sitting MP Nishikant Dubey and candidate of the grand alliance and JVM (P)’s sitting MLA from Podaiyahat, Pradeep Yadav.
There was an initial tussle in the grand alliance with JVM(P) Pradeep Yadav and INC’s Furqan Ansari both claiming stakes on the seat. When the seat went to JVM (P), Ansari planned to contest the election independently but later decided to support the grand alliance.
The constituency reels under various urban and rural issues. Power cuts seem to have become a major concern for the residents of town area.
Adani’s thermal power plant might as well emerge as an issue for voters in the constituency. Since Adani Power signed an MOU with Bangladesh for setting up the power plants, the area witnessed resistance on the name of land grabbing led by Pradeep Yadav.
While the land acquisition process is now over and construction work has commenced, the locals are now demanding jobs for themselves.
Among social issues, child marriage is a major problem in the constituency. The National Family Health Survey 4 data shows that Deoghar district, which comes under Godda constituency, tops in child marriage cases in the State with 32.7 percent of girls being married below the age of 18.
Similarly, Godda district stands third with 31.4 per cent minor girls being married.
The constituency, reserved for the candidates belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, has seen a triangular fight most of the time. The Congress party has won eight times from this Lok Sabha seat, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) four times, the Bharatiya Janata Party twice and BLD and Janata Party once each.
After Jharkhand was carved out from Bihar in 2000, the seat has gone twice to the JMM and once to the BJP. Rajmahal and Dumka were the only two seats won the JMM in the Lok Sabha election held in 2014. The rest of the 12 seats went to the BJP that year.
Sitting Member of Parliament Vijay Hansdak contested from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Hansdak is the son of former Congress MP Thomas Hansda. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) fielded Hemlal Murmu who secured the second highest votes in Rajmahal in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) made the contest for Rajmahal a triangular one by placing Gopin Soren for the constituency.
Hemlal Murmu had won the Rajmahal constituency for the JMM when the first general elections were held here in 2004. In 2009, Devidhan Besra of the BJP defeated the then sitting MP Hemlal Murmu. Hemlal Murmu went to the BJP after the 2009 elections. In 2014 elections, Vijay Kumar Hansdak defeated Hemlal Murmu who had contested with a BJP ticket. Hemlal Murmu was defeated with a vote margin of 41,337. 
Hansdak had secured 37,9507 votes while Murmu got 33,8170 votes.
Political stalwart and JMM supremo Shibu Soren has been representing the Dumka Lok Sabha seat for the last three decades, except for two general elections held in 1998 and 1999, when Babulal Marandi won from Dumka on a BJP ticket.
The fight now is between the Guru and his disciple. JMM strongman Shibu Soren who had represented the seat for eight times will make history in State if he reaches Lok Sabha for ninth times. Pitted against, Shibu Soren is Sunil Soren who had learnt the political nitty-gritty from Shibu but later switch side to BJP.
It is for the third time that both Shibu and Sunil are facing each other in Dumka. However, in the last two elections, Sunil Soren had to face defeat.
The BJP with an attempt to break JMM stronghold in the area and have been working hard. Chief Minister Raghubar Das visited the area several times. He chose to launch various government events and programme from the tribal district.
Sources said that in this seat, tribal politics plays a decisive role.
Santhal Parganas problems
In Jharkhand’s Dumka and Godda region, prospective coal mining by Adani Group will have huge environmental and social impact.
Sixteen residents of four villages in Jharkhand’s eastern district of Godda moved the Jharkhand High Court on February 4, 2019, asking it to strike down the contentious acquisition of fertile land the size of 1,032 football fields for the Adani Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates.
Cattle vigilantism has been on an all-time high in these regions for the last 5 years. Two Muslim men were lynched in Bankatti village in Godda district on the suspicion of stealing 12 buffaloes. Four people have been arrested so far.
In Dumka, the mob lynched a man they suspected of committing rape on an eight-year-old girl. While in Ramgarh, close to capital city Ranchi, the mob lynched a man they suspected of carrying ‘banned’ meat.
Police identified the victim as Alimuddin Ansari, in his mid-30s, from the Giddi area of Ramgarh. Nine people were beaten to death in three separate incidents in a span of eight days by rampaging mobs in southern Jharkhand.
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