RANCHI: Even though all CM candidates like BJP’s Raghubar Das, AJSU’s Sudesh Mahto and Babulal Marandi’s JVM-P have already declared their seats even before it was formally announced by their parties, JMM executive president and former chief minister Hemant Soren is yet to open his cards by maintaining silence and keeping the political pot boiling in Jharkhand. Party insiders claimed that after losing his stronghold Dumka in 2014, Soren is still looking for a safer seat in Santhal Pargana.
Notably, in 2014 Soren had contested from two Assembly seats — Dumka and Barhait, but lost Dumka to BJP candidate Louis Marandi and retained Barhait seat by defeating BJP’s Hemlal Murmu of BJP with a close margin of 24,000 votes. Incidentally, Murmu had won the seat in 2009 on a JMM ticket by
defeating BJP candidate Vijay Hans.
“It has not been decided so far. We will let you know as soon as it is decided,” said JMM general secretary and spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya. He, however, claimed that none of the candidates for the 18 Assembly seats in Santhal Pargana have been declared so far.
Party insiders, on the other hand, revealed that Soren, who is not confident of winning from Barhait, is likely to field his younger brother Basant Soren from the seat and is looking for a safer constituency for himself.
“Hemant Soren ji is likely to contest from Littipara, which is also a traditional seat of JMM for the last three times along with Dumka from where he was defeated in 2014. It is believed that JMM might get benefitted from the anti-incumbency factor in Dumka,” said a senior JMM functionary. Moreover, Dumka being a traditional seat of his father Shibu Soren, he would not like to let it go so easily, he added.
The JMM functionary further added Soren does not want to rely on Dumka alone as it has always been unpredictable for politicians as the winning margin has been very narrow there and Louis Marandi won the seat in 2014 with a margin of less than 5,000 votes, while in 2009, Soren won the seat by less than 2,700 votes.
Contrasting fortunes over time for Soren
Notably, in 2014 Soren had contested from two Assembly seats — Dumka and Barhait, but lost Dumka to BJP candidate Louis Marandi and retained Barhait seat by defeating BJP’s Hemlal Murmu of BJP by a close margin of 24,000 votes. Incidentally, Murmu had won the seat in 2009 by defeating BJP candidate Vijay Hans.