Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Tooth and nail battle for Baharagora Assembly seat

Kunal � Samir confrontation has party leaders biting nails

Mail News Service

Jamshedpur, Dec 4: With poll campaigns to cease at 5 pm on Thursday, December 5 and fate of 13 Kolhan Region Assembly seats� contestants to have their political aspirations sealed within the confines of EVMs, a major chunk of interest of political pundits and laymen alike is concentrated on the Baharagora constituency jigsaw where Kunal Sarangi having skipped the fence from the JMM camp to the BJP campus is pinning his hopes on lady luck who swung the young man�s fortunes to the podium on a bow and arrow ticket to the Ranchi Dome. Kunal�s move stunned JMM leadership and supporters but in politics, if one remains stunned for long, equations have been known to go haywire.

Battle scarred and weather beaten veteran of many a battle big and small in the Assembly joust arena Samir Mohanty is a heavy weight and so not a pushover and Kunal and his newfound home in the BJP camp know this factor and have been burning midnight oil to scheme the battle lines for one of the biggest Assembly seat contests ever witnessed in Baharagora.

In the 2014 Vidhan Sabha polls, Kunal Sarangi of JMM grabbed 57,973 votes while his then closest rival, BJP�s veteran leader Dineshanand Goswami breasted the tape with a second place finish tallying 42,618 votes. Since as long as one can remember, Samir Mohanty has built his image as a serious politician who does not count the chickens till they are hatched and takes his political career seriously. In the Assembly battle of 2014, Samir, on a JVM ticket polled 42,130 votes. Incidentally, in the 2005 Assembly outing, Samir Mohanty battled his way out of many political odds and collected 9,411 votes in his kitty. Though he lost the Assembly elections of 2005, the electorate felt that their �Angel Gabriel� had arrived. And Samir has continued to stay there and build on his image as a concerned and helpful political person.

It may be mentioned here that Kunal�s father, Dr Dinesh Sarangi, had won the Assembly elections on a BJP ticket from Baharagora and was made a minister by the Jharkhand regime then.

With Kunal joining the BJP bandwagon this time around, many saffron party aspirants had their dreams of a bus ride to the Jharkhand Assembly shattered but remained in mute mode being unable to either digest or throw up their political aspirations. Kunal�s switchover from JMM to BJP followed after hectic parlays with the Lotus leaders immediately after the Lok Sabha elections which ultimately paved the way for Kunal Shadangi to draw dreams anew for another go at the Assembly hustings.

Samir Mohanty, on the other hand, had shifted allegiance to the BJP camp and had been working rigorously for the people especially in rural climes and those in the know-how  were sure beyond doubt that the powers that be would give him a BJP tag to contest the Baharagora Assembly seat�2019. But strange are the fortunes that rotate on the giant wheels at political fairgrounds. Kunal�s arrival reversed all checkerboard moves and the new man in was promoted up the batting order. While other diehard �saffronites� with political ambitions swallowed their pride, not so Samir who openly came out with cudgels of protest, jumped out of the Lotus bus and hastened across to pick up the bow and arrow and aim it at the flower that blooms with sunrise. The JMM leadership embraced Samir Mohanty warmly and without any hiccup, gave the time-tested man a ticket to contest the Baharagora Vidhan Sabha seat.

Kunal and his backers are treading tricky grounds in the sense that some Samir backers still in the BJP ranks may or may not back the new party bet. So, Kunal Shadangi has to make sure which stump to take guard on before the first ball (read vote) is delivered.

Time is ticking away and all political camps are bracing up to meet the Assembly challenge of 2019 which is about 48 hours away. This election is in a different Chandrayan mould and it will definitely land, but on which side of the moon is as tricky as calling the spin of the coin correctly.

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