Credited with sending two former chief ministers to jail, expelled BJP leader and former minister Saryu Roy is set to send outgoing Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das packing from the prestigious Jamshedpur (East) seat. According to latest trends, the three-time BJP MLA, who has often led indirect attacks on Das, is leading by a margin of 15,743 votes and has garnered 43 per cent of the vote share.
Being hailed as a ‘giant killer’, Saryu Roy, who was the MLA from Jamshedpur West, decided to contest against Das as an Independent candidate after BJP did not give him a ticket in the elections. Roy claims it was Das who did not want him to contest polls. Follow LIVE Updates
Seizing the moment, JMM working president Hemant Soren backed Roy after he announced his candidature, saying the former minister had raised his voice against corruption in the last five years and carved his own identity.
Other leaders who are in the fray are Congress’ Gourav Vallabh and Jharkhand Vikas Manch’s (JVM) Abhay Singh. In the 2014 Assembly elections, Raghubar Das polled 1,03,418 votes against 33,261 polled by the Congress in Jamshedpur East.
However, there were feelers from the voters that it would not be smooth sailing for Das this time in Jamshedpur (East). Many who claimed to be BJP supporters had told The Indian Express that they would vote for a “clean man” this election, referring to Roy.
During the election campaign, Saryu Roy, in an interview with The Indian Express, said the government did not function as an institution. “It was working on the whims (of Das)… There is a coterie of officers and the agenda is how to manage tenders like that of road construction. There is no-holds-barred corruption,” he had said.
Roy had a major hand in sending two former CMs to jail. In 1996, his letter to the finance commissioner, alleging “fraudulent and excess withdrawals” from state treasuries by Bihar Animal Husbandry department officials with fake bills led to the conviction of Lalu Prasad. Roy also flagged corrupt practices of various ministers in the Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand and flagged “irregularities” in allotment of iron ore mines.
He has also led indirect political attacks on Das on social media. In one instance, he rebuked the BJP’s official “Ghar Ghar Raghubar” slogan by posting, “Ghar Ghar Bhajpa, Ghar Ghar Kamal. Baad mein main, pehle dal (BJP and Lotus in every household; first the party, then self).”
Besides facing anti-incumbency, Raghubar Das, the first CM to complete five years in office, had to deal with rural distress, resentment over lack of jobs and even a divide within over the choice of poll candidates.
There was also anger against Das over the way he handled the agitations by para teachers and Anganwadi workers, and unhappiness over the “lack” of new recruitments by the Jharkhand Public Service Commission (JPSC) and Jharkhand Staff Selection Commission (JSSC).
In the past two years, BJP has been bogged down because of the unpopularity of its chief ministers. While the party was voted out in Rajasthan largely because of the negative perception about Vasundhara Raje, its below-par performance in the Haryana elections was blamed on Manohar Lal Khattar.