Congress Party Releases Eight List of Candidates

Kalicharan Munda, Sukhdeo Bhagat and Jai Prakashbhai Patel will contest the polls in Khunti (ST), Lohardaga (ST) and Hazaribagh seats respectively, the party announced in New Delhi.

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The Congress on Wednesday night announced the names of candidates for three Lok Sabha constituencies – Lohardaga, Khunti and Hazaribag. Three more names were finalised for the state in the party’s Central Election Committee (CEC) meeting held in New Delhi while talks on seat-sharing are on among INDIA bloc partners, Congress Legislature Party leader Alamgir Alam told PTI over phone from Delhi.

Kalicharan Munda, Sukhdeo Bhagat and Jai Prakashbhai Patel will contest the polls in Khunti (ST), Lohardaga (ST) and Hazaribagh seats respectively, the party announced in New Delhi.

Patel, the Mandu MLA who left BJP and embraced Congress recently, has been fielded from Hazaribag Lok Sabha seat. In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Congress had fielded Gopal Prasad Sahu, who lost to BJP’s Jayant Sinha by 4.79 lakh votes. The BJP this time fielded MLA Manish Jaiswal.

Kalicharan Munda will contest from the Khunti Lok Sabha seat. He was defeated in 2019 by Union minister Arjun Munda by a narrow margin of 1,445 votes.

In Lohardaga, the Congress fielded Sukhdeo Bhagat who lost to BJP’s Sudarshan Bhagat in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

“The CEC is likely to announce the other names in a phased manner as elections in Jharkhand will be held in the last four phases,” Alam said. He said a final decision on seat sharing among the INDIA bloc allies is still to be taken.

Leaders of the INDIA bloc said that a seat-sharing agreement has been finalised for all the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state.

According to the initial understanding, the Congress would contest from seven seats and the JMM from five. The RJD and CPI(ML) would field candidates in one seat each, they said.

A final decision could not be taken as the RJD has demanded Chatra constituency.

In 2019, BJP’s Sunil Kumar Singh won from the seat by a margin of 3.77 lakh votes defeating Congress’s Manoj Yadav.

The BJP dropped Sunil Kumar Singh this time and has fielded Kalicharan Singh from Chatra.

Earlier in the day, Congress State president Rajesh Thakur told PTI: “BJP is in jittery. Unable to find suitable candidates from their own ranks, they are embracing Congress and JMM leaders.”

Thakur was hinting at Congress MP Geeta Kora and JMM MLA Sita Soren who joined the BJP and were fielded from the Singbhum and Dumka Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

A BJP spokesperson maintained that attracted by the development initiatives of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, people from all political parties were coming to its fold.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP secured 11 seats, while the AJSU Party, Congress, and JMM won one seat each in the state.

Jharkhand will vote for its 14 constituencies in four phases, starting on May 18. The BJP has already announced candidates for 13 seats and left Giridih for the AJSU Party.

The BJP has fielded former JMM MLA and sister-in-law of former chief minister Hemant Soren from Dumka (ST) constituency replacing sitting MP Sunil Soren.

The party had earlier announced Sunil Soren’s name, who had defeated JMM president Shibu Soren in the 2019 polls, for Dumka.

The party reposed faith in MLA Dulu Mahto from Dhanbad, dropping sitting MP Pashupati Nath Singh.

The party earlier had named 11 nominees from Jharkhand including four new candidates – former Congress parliamentarian Geeta Kora (Singhbhum ST constituency), Rajya Sabha MP Samir Oraon, Tala Marandi and Manish Jaiswal.

The seven other candidates, announced earlier, will seek re-election from their respective constituencies. They include Union ministers Arjun Munda (Khunti ST) and Annapurna Devi (Koderma).

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