English News Lok Sabha Elections 2024 Politics

Dhanbad Lok Sabha Constituency: BJP’s Grip in Peril, Will Congress Seize the Opportunity ?

The political landscape in Dhanbad is undergoing significant transformation, with discontent brewing against the BJP candidate Dhullu Mahto (MLA Baghmara) and opportunities emerging for the Congress. The upcoming Lok Sabha Election 2024 are poised to be fiercely contested, with community sentiments and the ‘insider-outsider’ narrative playing pivotal roles here.

Dhanbad is a key stronghold for the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) in Jharkhand. Announcement of Dhullu Mahto as the BJP candidate has sparked significant discontent among various communities. Marwari, Rajput, Kayastha, and other communities are expressing fear and reluctance towards Mahto due to his controversial image. Nevertheless, during a press conference in Bokaro on Thursday, Dhullu Mahto asserted that all accusations against him were baseless.

Community Backlash

The Dhanbad Zila Marwari Sammelan has appealed to BJP’s state president, Babulal Marandi, to reconsider Mahto’s candidacy, citing widespread apprehension among the community members. Rajput voters, constituting about 9% of the electorate in Dhanbad, are particularly aggrieved over the omission of sitting MP P N Singh’s name from the candidate list, alongside Chatra Sunil Singh, leaving Rajput representation from Jharkhand in the Lok Sabha elections in question.

Similarly, the Kayastha community (about 2.6% voter base in Dhanbad), typically politically passive, is now showing discontent over the exclusion of their leader Jayant Sinha from the fray. The absence of a Kayastha candidate in Jharkhand specially in areas like Hazaribagh, Giridih, and Dhanbad, where Kayasthas hold significant sway, is exacerbating the dissatisfaction.

The Insider-Outsider Factor

The decision to field Dhullu Mahto, a native of Giridih parliamentary constituency, in Dhanbad has fueled the ‘insider-outsider’ narrative. Young leader Jairam Mahto, who established his own political party JKBSS and is now contesting for the Giridih seat, has heightened this sentiment, which is proving to be crucial in shaping the dynamics of this election across various political groups in the area.

Will Congress able to capitalise on BJP’s vulnerability ?

**Opportunities for Congress**

Amidst the growing discontent towards the BJP candidate, leaders within the Congress party see a window of opportunity to sway public sentiment in their favor. Several leaders have rushed to Delhi, lobbying for the Dhanbad ticket. Congress MLA Kumar Jaimangal of Bermo is pushing for his wife, Anupama Singh, as a potential candidate, while his younger brother, Kumar Gaurav, is also vying for the nomination.

**Potential Candidates**

Former MP Dadai Dubey and Jaleshwar Mahto emerge as potential contenders from the Dhanbad parliamentary constituency, although their age poses a concern. Jaleshwar Mahto, in particular, could pose a formidable challenge to Dhullu Mahto, rallying support from the ‘insider’ faction. Additionally, Congress MLA from Jharia Purnima Neeraj Singh is also viable candidate, holding significant support from the Rajput community.

Among the potential candidates, Sweta Singh, daughter-in-law of the late MLA Samresh Singh, stands out prominently. Having contested the 2019 assembly elections from Bokaro and securing 99,000 votes, Sweta Singh commands significant support, particularly from the Rajput and forward community. Her candidacy also carries the weight of local sentiment, as she hails from a Khatiyani (local) family entrenched in Dhanbad’s political fabric. Furthermore, Sweta Singh is poised to capitalise on the community’s grievances against the BJP candidate, Dhullu Mahto, particularly in the context of the ‘insider-outsider’ dynamic.

Independent MLA Saryu Roy Steps In

Independent MLA Saryu Roy, known for his victory over former BJP CM Raghubar Das in Jamshedpur East, has thrown his hat into the ring. Visiting Dhanbad on Friday, Roy expressed readiness to contest if no suitable candidate emerges against the BJP. He is closely monitoring the Congress candidate selection process and may decide to run independently if he deems the chosen candidate unsuitable.

Vox Populi: Local Voices Speak Out

**Residents’ Views**

Mitu Mahatha: “I am disappointed with the BJP’s choice of candidate. We need someone who is native of this constituency and understands our issues.”

Manoj Kumar: “Congress seems to be gaining momentum here. If they choose the right candidate, they might just pull off a surprise win.”

Manish Singh: “Saryu Roy’s entry has added an interesting twist. It will be intriguing to see how things unfold in the coming days.”

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