Businessmen in Dhanbad in fear & grief over BJP nominee Dhullu Mahato. 

The starting gun for campaigning in Jharkhand’s coal field region of Dhanbad Lok Sabha constituency was fired soon after the BJP fielded Baghmara MLA Dulu Mahato as its candidate. The smoke is yet to dissipate.

Mahato, an MLA, was picked up while dropping sitting MP Pashupati Nath Singh who has been representing the seat since 2009. That is not the reason responsible for the electoral battle. 

The root cause is the criminal background of BJP nominee Dhulu Mahato. He was accused in over three dozen cases of land grab, extortion, and coal smuggling among others. 

The traders’ community in Dhanbad has written a letter to the state BJP President, Babulal Marandi, seeking reconsideration of the BJP candidate Dhulo Mahto’s candidature from Dhanbad. Mahto has 49 criminal cases against him and is notorious for coal smuggling, extortion, and other crimes in the Dhanbad region. 

He is also convicted in four cases. Copies of the letter have also been sent to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the Prime Minister’s Office, and party national President JP Nadda. 

The selection of Dhulu Mahto as a Lok Sabha candidate has raised questions among BJP ranks and locals.

On behalf of the business community in Dhanbad, President of the Dhanbad District Marwari Sammelan, Krishna Agrawal, has written a letter to Jharkhand BJP president and former CM Babulal Marandi opposing the move. He alleged that the decision has gripped the business community in panic after Dhulu Mahto’s name was announced to contest from Dhanbad.

“I have written a letter to the senior party leaders requesting them to reconsider the decision taken by the party as it has led the business community into panic,” said Krishna Agrawal. 

Also, Independent MLA Saryu Roy who belonged to the BJP till 2019, has raised the strongest objection to Dhullu Mahato’s nomination by the BJP and threatened that if his candidature is not withdrawn, he himself will fight against him in the LS polls. While Dhullu Mahato has countered criticisms against him, the BJP has not responded. 

The state unit President Babulal Marandi has said that if there are criminal cases against him, the court will pass judgement. “ Who is Saryu Roy to pass judgement on him”( Dhullu Mahato). 

In any case, Agrawal, like many businessmen of the Marwari community and traders of Dhanbad, seem to be in a panic as over three dozen cases of land grab, extortion, and coal smuggling among others are still pending against Mahto. 

On Saturday the Election Commission of India announced an April 19 date for the first phase of voting. In Dhanbad too, the party dropped sitting MP Pashupati Nath Singh who has been representing the seat since 2009, and fielded Baghmara MLA Dulu Mahato. 

The BJP announced the names of three candidates in Jharkhand, including Sita Soren - former JMM MLA and sister-in-law of former Chief Minister Hemant Soren - from Dumka (ST) constituency. 

The party on March 2 announced that sitting MP Sunil Soren, who had defeated JMM president Shibu Soren in the 2019 polls by a margin of 47,590 votes, will seek re-election from Dumka. 

In a blow to the ruling Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, three-term MLA and elder daughter-in-law of party patriarch Shibu Soren, Sita Soren joined the BJP on March 20 citing "isolation" and "neglect" by JMM since the death of her husband Durga Soren in 2009. 

Dumka will go to the polls on June 1. 

Against this backdrop, the BJP organised meetings in Dhanbad and Bokaro to gauge the sentiments of people over the allotment of the ticket to Dhullu Mahto. 

During the meeting held at Bokaro under the presidency of Jaidev Rai, district president of BJP, Karmveer Singh, state general secretary (organisation) of the party, said:

“BJP is a cadre-based party, and every party worker has to work like a squirrel to ensure the victory of the party candidate. We should begin work from today itself and contact the common people to apprise them about the welfare activities carried out by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.”

Insiders of the BJP argue that in the coal belt of Dhanbad, Dhullu Mahato is a leader who has been slapped by his rivals with “ false cases of crime”. 

A senior BJP leader on condition of anonymity said, “Dhullu Mahato is a political tiger to deal with coal mafias. The party will bring change and development in the coal field.”


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