RANCHI: As Jharkhand gets a third chance to elect a majority government after experiencing two fractured mandates, many political leaders believe local issues would be the yardstick for voters' choice while BJP claims that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision would also appeal electors.
"Local issues do play a role in assembly polls along with wider national issues. This time Prime Minister Narendra Modi's personality and his vision on developmental issues will have greater impact," senior BJP leader and former MLA Saryu Roy said.
During his visit to Ranchi on August 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to the people to give a majority government to turn Jharkhand into a developed state.
Roy also said the voters have realised how unstable governments and lack of credible opposition during the past 14 years left Jharkhand to compete with newly created state Telangana while Uttarakhand and Chhattisgarh have moved ahead despite all the three being carved out around the same time.
"Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand are far ahead of us in developmental indicators now we have to compete with the newly carved state of Telangana," Roy said.
Jharkhand, which has seen nine governments and three stints of President's rule in 14 years, saw fractured mandates in both 2005 and 2009 assembly elections.
The political parties are bracing up for the five-phase elections beginning November 25 in the backdrop of the state witnessing three governments and two stints of central rule alone between previous polls and now. JMM general secretary Suprio Bhattacharya believes that local issues are more important and not national issues during assembly elections.
"Issues like good governance, employment, law and order, welfare measures, empowerment and other things matter in assembly polls," he said.
He claimed that what the JMM-led government did in 14 months, the previous governments failed to do in 14 years, and those were the issues which would influence the electorate.
Bhattacharya further said the JMM would go to the polls with stability, good governance and development as main issues under the leadership of Chief Minister Hemant Soren and direction of party supremo Shibu Soren.
BJP's state unit vice president Deepak Prakash said, "It's all about 70 per cent local issues and 30 per cent national issues dominating the assembly polls. Local issues again vary among different assembly segments, districts, blocks, panchayats and villages."
"Problems" like electricity, water, roads displacement, education, health, drinking water, irrigation and law and order and other issues dominate the assembly electioneering, Prakash said. CPI ML-Liberation MLA Vinod Kumar Singh also opined that local issues did matter during assembly elections, particularly in Jharkhand.
"MLAs come under the ire of the people as they think their MLA is the only 'unit' responsible for development of roads, power supply and drinking water facility as panchayat units have not been empowered," Singh said.
He said voters closely follow whether a ruling MLA has delivered or not, adding "illiteracy rate is so high that national issues like price rise and unemployment get buried. Giving tickets on the basis of caste is also another issue that plays a part in assembly elections."
Former Assembly Speaker Inder Singh Namdhari said, "The biggest issue in Jharkhand is corruption. With an able administrator at the top, people will also see their MLA or minister's work before deciding to vote."
Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee General Secretary Alok Dubey said both local and national issues influence voting in the assembly elections.
Citing how the Congress had to endure Madhu Koda scam in 2009 as it had supported it from outside, Dubey said, "It were the regional parties, who had pressurised to support the Koda government and BJP made Congress accountable for it."
"We didn't want President's rule so we supported a democratically elected government, and the BJP is targeting us for that," Dubey said, indicating that corruption is one of the major issues that could also dominate the polls.
Besides migration and Naxalism being among the issues, Dubey said, "Stability will be the crucial plank as people got frustrated at arithmetical machinations that led to the rise and fall of many governments."
"Surrendering of central funds and inability to bring central programmes to the rural areas for development will be among other issues," Dubey said.