RANCHI: ‘Displacement’ is the word that polarizes voters in Hazaribagh, which is one-and-half -hour drive from Jharkhand capital Ranchi. The rich forests with natural hilly formations and lakes make it one of the most beautiful terrain. But there is turmoil within. Represented by Union Minister Jayant Sinha, Hazaribagh and its environs have witnessed several protests against the alleged forceful land acquisition for mining purposes and power projects. Four people died and 40 others were injured in police firing at Chirudih during a protest against land acquisition in October 2016.
While the issue dominates, the seat is shaping up for a triangular contest as besides BJP’s Jayant Sinha and Congress’ Gopal Sahu, former MP of CPI Bhuvneshwar Prasad Mehta, who represented Hazaribagh in 1991 and 2004, is also in the fray. The Left party had been demanding Hazaribagh as its share from the Mahagathbandhan, but failed.
Jayant, son of three-time MP Yashwant Sinha, does face criticism for his lack of political connect with the people of his constituency. But, he is largely banking on the government achievements and the projects worth Rs 25,000 crore which were brought on his initiative.Jayant is also seeking votes for being number 1 in implementing the centrally funded schemes properly in Hazaribagh and also promises to provide employment opportunities, better health facilities, double farmers income and preserve rights of locals.
Congress candidate Gopal Sahu is banking on elder brother Shiv Prasad Sahu’s reputation over two terms as MP of Ranchi in 1980 and 1984. “Sahu is dwarfed by the BJP candidate. The contest could have come alive if it was a direct fight between Jayant and Mehta,” said a local. Even Opposition leaders claim, that fielding Sahu is like to give a walkover to Jayant on a platter. “We are still not able to understand why the Congress did this,” said a JMM leader. Jayant, who won by 1.5 lakh votes in 2014, enjoys the support of AJSU party this time.