Lucky for Fifth Time? Jharkhand rural minister may have reasons to worry

Months after the Congress enjoyed a lead of over 20,000 votes in the area under Khunti assembly constituency in this year’s Lok Sabha election, Nilkanth Singh Munda faces a candidate put up jointly by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and...

Agencies
Khunti: Senior BJP leader and Jharkhand’s rural development minister Nilkanth Singh Munda may have reasons to worry ahead of his bid to secure a fifth consecutive term from the Khunti assembly seat, which goes to the polls on December 7 in the second phase of the elections.

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Months after the Congress enjoyed a lead of over 20,000 votes in the area under Khunti assembly constituency in this year’s Lok Sabha election, Munda faces a candidate put up jointly by the

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

If Congress votes get transferred to the JMM candidate Sushil Pahan in the upcoming assembly election, Munda could face an uphill task. Fortunately for Munda, though, Pahan is a new face in the electoral arena and he appears to be struggling to ensure his party’s coordination with local Congress workers. “JMM candidate Sushil Pahan is a little-known face for voters in Khunti.

So, it’s advantage for the BJP nominee Nilkanth Munda in this constituency,” Rajesh, a shopkeeper, told ET in Khunti town. “Pahan’s success depends on his party’s capacity to get the Congress party’s traditional votes transferred to him.”

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In the Lok Sabha polls, BJP MP Arjun Munda defeated his Congress rival Kalicharan Munda by a margin of
just about 1,400 votes. Interestingly, Kalicharan Munda is Nilkanth Singh Munda’s brother. The JMM’s local election office in Khunti lacked the usual pre- election buzz when ET visited the area.

A few people who were present there said they were waiting for the JMM candidate. “We are Congress workers. The JMM candidate called us. However, he has yet to come to the office,” said one of the persons, who also expressed his disappointment over allocation of the seat to the JMM.

Later, Khunti district president of the Congress party Ramkrishna Choudhari said the alliance between JMM and Congress reflected the demand of people.

“I hope there would be good coordination between the Congress and JMM in Khunti,” he said.
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