RANCHI: Steel City Jamshedpur, India’s first planned township, is witnessing a close contest between two old friends — BJP’s Viddhutvaran Mahto and Champai Soren of JMM. Both started their careers from Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Viddhutvaran, who was JMM MLA from Bahragora, joined BJP in 2014.
The city, home to industrial giants like Tata Steel and Tata Motors, has witnessed hundreds of people being rendered unemployed in last few years after Tayo, a subsidiary of Tata Steel shut down, and Tata Hitachi was relocated to Kharagpur. Also, the anti-encroachment drive under a beautification drive has also created a group of unemployed, whose makeshift shops were removed, creating a sense of dissatisfaction among the locals.
The larger grouse is connectivity. “People in Jamshedpur have been waiting for the Ranchi-Jamshedpur NH-33 to get completed in the last 10 years. Despite the intervention of the Jharkhand High Court, it has not been completed so far,” said a local resident Praveen Kumar. With hardly an administrative change to attract resource and the hyped up ‘Momentum Jharkhand,’ the state has not seen job growth.
The scenario works against the BJP-led NDA.
Though Viddhutvaran is banking on ‘Modi magic’, JMM candidate Champai, who is backed by the Mahagathbandhan of JMM, RJD, Congress and JVM, is seeking votes on the issue of deteriorating law and order, unemployment and non-development.
“Putting some of the burning issues like health, education on the back burner, BJP is more concerned about keeping Modi in focus to attract votes while the JMM is trying to focus on promises of Modi in 2014, which are unfulfilled,” said a local businessman Rupesh Kumar Jha.