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Kodarma Lok Sabha Election 2024: In This Jharkhand Constituency, BJP Eyes Hattrick as INDIA Bloc Banks on Caste Politics

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The Kodarma constituency will vote in Phase 5 of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 20. (Getty)

The current MP is BJP’s Annapurna Devi Yadav who will be up against Vinod Kumar Singh of the CPI-ML, which is part of the INDIA bloc

Kodarma is one of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in the state of Jharkhand and covers the entire Koderma district and parts of the Hazaribagh and Giridih districts. Kodarma Lok Sabha constituency comprises of the following six assembly segments — Kodarma (BJP), Barkatha (Independent), Dhanwar (BJP), Bagodar (CPI-ML), Jamua (BJP) and Gandey (JMM). The current MP is BJP’s Annapurna Devi Yadav who will be up against Vinod Kumar Singh of the CPI-ML, which is part of the INDIA bloc. The constituency will vote in Phase 5 of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections on May 20.

Political Dynamics

  • BJP Eyes Hattrick Amid Stiff Challenge: In 2019, the BJP’s Annapurna Devi Yadav won Kodarma LS with a staggering margin of 4.55 lakh votes, making her a political shark of sorts which ensured she got a seat in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Council of Ministers. The BJP has fielded Yadav once again, but the contest in Kodarma is significantly tougher for the saffron party this time around. What will be of solace to the party is Yadav’s massive victory margin in 2019, which gives the party a lot of legroom to lose votes and still retain the seat. In this constituency dominated by Yadavs, Muslims and other backward castes, BJP in coordination with other backward Vaishya and forward castes has always been dominant over the alliance of Congress, RJD and Left parties. In 2019, the Yadav voters got polarised towards BJP, as a result of which the victory margin was so wide. This time, Babulal Marandi’s JVM, which has built a strong organisation in the region for 10 years, has merged with the BJP.
  • Caste Matrix: This time too, the Yadav vote is expected to largely stick with the BJP. However, some complexities appear to be arising for the BJP among the other castes, as a broad coalition of Congress, JMM, Left and RJD has come together to take on Yadav. Given the Opposition’s umbrella coalition, the fight in Kodarma has turned very interesting, and it now remains to be seen whether the BJP’s previous caste arrangements can survive now. The BJP had dropped Ravindra Ray in 2019 to make way for Annapurna Yadav in Kodarma. This time too, Ray has not been able to secure a ticket. Since Ravindra Ray belongs to the Bhumihar caste, there is some discontent within the community which is being noticed in the run-up to the election in Kodarma. This should be a cause of concern for the BJP, since the Rajput-Bhumihar combine, if it consolidates in favour of the opposition candidate, could spell some serious trouble for Annapurna Yadav and the saffron camp. To add to the BJP’s woes, the Khushwahas have been very upset about a candidate from their community not being fielded. The community has been voicing their opposition to Annapurna Yadav’s candidacy and claiming that their 4.5 lakh voters — who have always supported the BJP — will now rethink their preferences. Now, if the BJP loses the Rajput-Bhumihar-Khushwaha votes, it will be left mostly with the Yadavs, and in such a scenario, the contest here will become neck-and-neck. At present though, the BJP retain a slight edge, and PM Modi’s campaign here is going to be pivotal in ironing out caste and community differences.
  • Not All Happy With Annapurna Yadav: The Yadav vote will continue to be the deciding factor in this election too. In fact, at a time when there is some disillusionment among the Khushwahas, Rajputs and Bhumihars, former BJP MLA Jai Prakash Verma has entered the electoral fray in Kodarma as an independent candidate. This has led to some degree of Khushwaha voter consolidation in his favour, posing a threat to the BJP’s calculations here. To counter the Khushwaha threat, the Yadav Mahasabha here has come out in open support of the BJP and Annapurna Yadav. Meanwhile, there are complaints against Annapurna Yadav in Kodarma. Voters call her an absent MP who has not done any significant work for the constituency. Yadav does face considerable anti-incumbency, and if the BJP retains the seat, it will mostly be on the back of Yadav voters and the Modi factor. While the Modi factor appears to be a bit subdued this time around, voters are generally happy with the work his government has done since 2014 and see him as the only viable leader to vote for at a national scale.
  • INDIA Bloc’s Strategy: For the opposition INDIA bloc, the fight for Kodarma was never expected to be easy, given the staggering victory margin of the BJP from this constituency in 2019. The Opposition’s sole focus for Kodarma is to make the election here as local and caste-centric as possible. The Congress-JMM-RJD-CPI(ML) combine is an umbrella coalition that is highlighting the issues faced by the people here, which is why a Modi wave per se is not being seen. While people are generally happy with the Modi government, their enthusiasm is getting bogged down by local issues – which are many. As a part of the INDIA bloc, Kodarma LS constituency has been given to the CPI-ML, which has fielded Vinod Kumar Singh as its candidate here. He is a Rajput, which is a factor that could upend the BJP’s own caste arithmetic if Rajput voters choose to side with the INDI bloc candidate. This year, when Hemant Soren had to resign due to the ED’s arrest, it was the CPI-ML legislator who played an important role in the formation of Champai Soren’s government and met the Governor several times along with the alliance leaders. Singh is also currently the MLA of Bagodar. As such, he is no political lightweight.
  • Gunning for Victory: Vinod Singh is trying to capitalise on the anti-incumbency which Annapurna Yadav faces and is also frequently seen lashing out at the Modi government. Although the INDIA bloc has a greater bulk of political participants, ranging from the likes of the Congress and JMM to the CPI-ML and RJD, the BJP has the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) of former chief minister Babulal Marandi on his side. In 2019, Marandi contested the election from Kodarma, and hauled in an impressive 2.97 lakh votes, despite losing to the BJP. In 2020, the JVM merged with the BJP, and the outcome of that development is expected to play out in the BJP’s favour now, as the JVM and Babulal Marandi’s support base throws its weight behind the saffron party. The INDIA bloc is relying mostly on caste fissures here in Kodarma and is hoping that the counter-Yadav polarisation will help it sail through. The opposition is also assured of the roughly 20 per cent Muslim vote which exists in Kodarma. While that may result in Vinod Singh receiving an impressive number of votes, it may still not prove to be sufficient to unseat the BJP. This is because while the caste tensions could divert many non-Yadav voters away from the BJP, there is little likelihood that there will be a cent-per-cent transference of votes of other castes away from the saffron camp. The caste anger appears to be largely local.
  • Key Issues

  • Unemployment: The biggest issue in Kodarma remains that of unemployment. This is fuelling not just migration, but also disillusionment among the public, especially the youth. The lack of industrial units and factories only exacerbates the problem.
  • Mica Woes: Kodarma in Jharkhand was once known as the mica capital of India. However, after the passage of the Forest Conversation Act of 1980, mica mines were shut down in the name of wildlife conversation. This caused an economic downturn in the region that continues to this day. All of a sudden, an employment avenue which scores of families across the Kodarma and Giridh districts depended on for generations was shut down. The mica mining industry is still operational, but corporations have been replaced by unlicensed middlemen. Now, labourers hunt for mica in abandoned mines. Even today, a kilogram of Mica scraps sells for anywhere between Rs 3-Rs 15. Labourers usually involve their families to ensure more earnings, and instances of child labour are very easy to come by in Kodarma. Despite the mica industry being in shambles, the government has taken no policy initiative to legalise the mining of mica in a sustainable manner. The BJP is having to face local resentment for its failure to resolve the issue, despite being voted to power by the people of Kodarma with a staggering lead in 2019. The opposition, on the other hand, is promising to legalise mining of mica if voted to power.
  • Stone Mining: Like Mica, Kodarma is also a rich repository of precious stones. Blue, white and moon stones are found in abundance in the district, and yet, their mining remains illegal. For voters in Kodarma, it makes little sense to disallow mining activities, especially at a time when the government is unable to provide alternate avenues of employment and livelihood. They see little reason for such mining activities to be criminalised when their livelihood is on the line.
  • Caste Differences: The caste divisions in Kodarma have become even more pronounced as election fever grips the constituency. The Yadavs are throwing their weight behind the BJP, while the other castes — Bhumihars, Rajputs and Khushwahas — are unhappy with the saffron party for not fielding a leader from their communities. There is a distinct caste polarisation that can be seen in Kodarma as a result, and it may well outlast the ongoing election.
  • Development

  • Solar Power: In September 2023, a 2 MW ground-mounted solar plant in the Koderma Thermal Power Plant was fired up. Work on the remaining 8 MW solar plant was subsequently completed, as a result of which 10 MW electricity is now produced simultaneously through the solar plant.
  • Controlling Air Pollution: In March, PM Modi virtually inaugurated the retrofitting pollution control (FGD) system installed at the Koderma Thermal Power Plant. This has given a big boost to efforts aimed at containing air pollution in Kodarma, since prior to the FGD system being installed, 600 to 650 milligrams of smoke were emitted from Koderma Thermal Power Plant. After the installation of the unit of FGD plant, the emission of smoke has been reduced to only 200 mg.
  • Nursing College: In February, PM Modi laid the foundation for a new B.Sc. Nursing College and Hostel in Karma, located in the Koderma district, with an investment of around Rs 24.51 crore.
  • New Library: In June 2023, MP Annapurna Yadav laid the foundation for a library under the Jhumri Tilaiya Municipal Council of Koderma. This library, with a cost overlay of Rs 6 crore, will have seating arrangements for 300 to 400 children simultaneously. Apart from this, extensive arrangements will be made in the new library building for the preparation of competitive exams. This library will replace the existing one in the Kaushal Vikas Bhawan, which can house just about 30 students.
  • Demographics

    Total Voters: 18,67,022

    SC Voters: 263,250 (14.1%)

    ST Voters: 110,154 (5.9%)

    Muslims: 381,195 (20.4%)

    Urban Voters: 123,223 (6.6%)

    Rural Voters: 1,743,799 (93.4%)

    Voter Turnout in 2019 General Election: 66.6%

    Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Schedule, Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase And Much More At News18 Website



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    Pune Police Seizes Escape Car Kia Of Accused's Father | Pune Porsche Crash | English News | News18

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    ‘He Could Have Called Me’: Naveen Patnaik Responds after PM Modi Promises Probe into ‘Conspiracy behind CM’s Failing Health’

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    Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File pic/PTI)

    The Odisha chief minister slammed the BJP for ‘spreading rumours’ about his health during the ongoing elections. Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier said that if the BJP comes to power in the state, where assembly elections are being held concurrently with the Lok Sabha polls, it would form a special committee to investigate this issue and reveal the truth

    Ahead of the last phase of polling in Odisha on June 1, the battle lines were clearly drawn between former allies Biju Janata Dal and the Bharatiya Janata Party with none other than the Prime Minister targeting the Odisha chief minister’s close aide and former bureaucrat VK Pandian, which forced Naveen Patnaik to break his silence on Narendra Modi.

    “I understand that the Prime Minister at a public meeting in our state today has stated that I am in bad health and he wants to institute an enquiry to enquire into this matter,” the Odisha CM told reporters. “If he was so concerned about my health and he has stated publicly before that I am a good friend of his, all he had to do was pick up a telephone, ring me up, and ask me about my health.”

    Incidentally, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had indeed called Patnaik his “good friend” in February, ahead of alliance talks between the two parties.

    The soft-spoken Odisha chief minister slammed the BJP for “spreading rumours” about his health. “I understand that there are a number of people of the Bharatiya Janata Party from Odisha and Delhi who have been spreading this rumour about my health for the last ten years. Let me assure the Prime Minister that I am in perfect health and I have been campaigning in our state for the last month. Instead of concerning himself about such rumours, he should concentrate on the revision of coal royalty for our state and also our demand for special category status which we have been making for years. This will benefit the people of Odisha with all that funding,” he said.

    The opposition BJP, which fancies its chances in Odisha, has made “Odia asmita” an election issue and consistently targeted the Tamilian VK Pandian for the latter’s proximity to the chief minister, alleging that Patnaik is a “mere puppet” in his aide’s hands. And, despite a list of 40 star campaigners, it is Pandian who has led the BJD’s electioneering. Whether it is public meetings, roadshows, or big-ticket interviews, Pandian is everywhere. The BJP is trying to hammer the point that “Pandian, a non-Odia, is usurping power”.

    Answering questions from reporters, Patnaik said that his health was alright, or else he would not have campaigned in this heat. “If he is to form a committee, I suggest he form a committee to look into the people who are spreading such false rumours about my health,” he said. “Think about it, this is election time and this has been said to get votes, what else?”

    A video of Pandian removing Patnaik’s shaking hand from the public eye during a meeting triggered speculation from the BJP.

    “All well-wishers of Naveen Babu are deeply worried. They are concerned seeing the sharp deterioration in Naveen Babu’s health in the past year. Those who have been close to Naveen Babu for years discuss his health when they meet me,” Prime Minister Modi said at a rally. “They say that Naveen Babu is no longer able to do anything on his own. Those who have been close to Naveen Babu for ages believe that there could be some conspiracy behind his deteriorating health.”

    The PM, who has been campaigning vigorously in Odisha along with the BJP’s top brass, said the people of the state have the right to know the truth. “Is the same lobby not behind this, the same one who in the name of Naveen Babu and behind the screen is enjoying the perks of power in Odisha? The veil must be lifted from this mystery. There must be an investigation into this. After June 10, when the BJP would have registered a victory, its government in Odisha will form a special committee and will investigate the reasons why Naveen Babu’s health is suddenly continuing to deteriorate.”

    In the no-holds-barred fight between the BJD and BJP, the latter has cleverly strategised not to target Naveen Patnaik so much, as he is old and still popular, but his close and trusted aide VK Pandian.

    Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase, Results Date, Exit Poll And Much More At News18 Website



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    No Bar In Electoral Law On PM Planning Meditation Trip Ahead Of Last Phase of LS Polls: Sources

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    PM Modi will meditate at the Vivekananda Rock Memorial starting on Thursday evening. (Image: News18)

    The Congress on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Modi was trying to “circumvent” the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip in violation of the Model Code of Conduct

    There is no bar under electoral law on the prime minister to undertake a meditation trip during elections, sources in the know said on Wednesday, amid the Congress’s opposition to Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to Kanyakumari’s ‘Dhyan Mandapam’ from May 30.

    The Congress on Wednesday alleged that Prime Minister Modi was trying to “circumvent” the silence period restrictions with his 48-hour meditation trip in violation of the Model Code of Conduct. It urged the Election Commission to ensure that the his meditation exercise is not aired by the media.

    The sources in the know cited Section 126 of the Representation of People Act, 1951 which deals with prohibition of public meetings or propagating and displaying election matter to the public, during the operation of silence period.

    Silence period begins 48 hours ahead of the conclusion of poll. Silence period for the last phase, in which Modi’s constituency of Varanasi also goes for poll, begins at 6 PM on Thursday.

    However, the provisions of the election law are not applicable in case of multi-phased elections — when the polls are held on different dates — if the content of election matter relates to subsequent phases and in no way, have any reference to the polling area under silence period, they said, citing a press note issued by EC last month.

    So long as one does not talk about the locality where election is happening there is no bar, the sources underlined.

    If there are no spoken words as reported, there seems to be no violation, they added. Similar permission was given by the Commission to the PM during 2019 Lok Sabha polls when election was scheduled in Varanasi during last phase on May 19.

    Explore in-depth coverage of Lok Sabha Election 2024 Voter Turnout, Upcoming Phase, Results Date, Exit Poll And Much More At News18 Website

    (This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed – PTI)



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