RANCHI: The focus of the ruling and opposition parties have now shifted to the crucial tribal belt of the Santhal Pargana’s in Jharkhand in what is proving to be a neck-and-neck battle to win the ongoing Assembly polls.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah’s visits have managed to bring shift the narrative to the BJP’s achievement in pushing the National Citizenship Register (NCR) and Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), Opposition parties, including the Congress and Shibu Soren led JMM are trying hard to wean the debate away to local issues, economy and unemployment.
The NRC and CAA issues are likely to create an impact given that the Santhal Parganas have seen debates over alleged Bangladeshi infiltrators in Jharkhand's north east over decades.
The emphasis on Santhal Parganas has been such that Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi will be holding her first election rally here on Wednesday on the back of PM’s campaign at two places on Tuesday.
Amit Shah had earlier addressed a rally on Monday at Sahebganj, while CM Raghubar Das has been campaigning without break.
“Polarization of voters over CAA is visible already,” claimed a senior BJP leader who has been camping in the region for the last two days.
Congress leaders, however, claimed that people are concerned only with local issues like road, electricity and water.
Santhal Parganas is a prestige battle for JMM Executive President Hemant Soren who is contesting from two seats-Dumka and Barhait. In 2014, Soren had contested two seats but lost Dumka to BJP candidate Louis Marandi.
Big names in the fray
Other big names in the penultimate phase are Agriculture Minister Randhir Singh, Social Welfare Minister Louis Marandi and former state BJP president Tala Marandi