*Picture shows JMM Acting President Hemant Soren praying at Deori temple in Tamar, Jharkhand.

For long, Tamar was Maoists infested Scheduled Tribe Reserve constituency in Jharkhand. Right now it is witnessing a sitting MLA contesting the upcoming assembly polls against an ex MLA who allegedly hired a killer to shot his father dead. The third contestant is the Maoist supremo       

 An incumbent MLA in Jharkhand is contesting the upcoming assembly polls against a former legislator who allegedly hired an assassin to kill his father. But there’s more to the contest for Tamar, one of the state’s 81 assembly seats. The third contestant is the contract killer allegedly hired for the murder.

The trio Tamar MLA Vikash Munda of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), ex MLA of Tamar, Gopal Krishna Patar alias Raja Peter of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Kundan Pahan, an Independent, will face off in the second phase of the state’s five-phase election on 7 December.

Peter was Minister, a cabinet colleague of Vikash’s father and former JD(U) MLA Ramesh Singh Munda in the short-lived Arjun Munda state government (2006-08). Peter is accused of orchestrating Bundu MLA Ramesh’s assassination in 2008 through Pahan, a former Naxalite leader and member of the banned CPI (Maoist) who once carried a Rs 15 lakh bounty.

Pahan, who was in jail and had come out of it on bail, faces more than 100 cases. The National Investigation Agency (NIA) is probing the assassination case.

Even Peter was in jail in connection with the case but received permission from an NIA court to contest the elections. Faced with them, Vikas who had won Tamar assembly seat as an Independent in 2014 had joined the JMM on October 8.

As it is, Pahan, who filed nomination as an Independent candidate on November 19, is an accused in several murder cases with his high-profile targets, including an MP, Sunil Mahto, and a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Pramod Kumar, besides several police personnel. He is also accused of robbing a bank of Rs 5.5 crore.

Similarly, Peter’s backdrop in election figured in headlines after he defeated JMM supremo and former chief minister Shibu Soren in a by-election for Tamar in 2009. Peter contested that election as a JD(U) candidate with the full backing of the BJP.

Soren, who was the chief minister at the time and contesting to retain the post, had to resign.

So far as Vikas Munda is considered, he built his strength as a candidate of the AJSU party Independent, on a strong platform his assassinated father had set up, defeated Peter by over 25,000 votes in 2014. Now, he is contesting against Peter and Pahan as a JMM candidate.

This is why perhaps, JMM Acting President Hemant Soren offered prayer to the Goddes Kali at the famous Deori temple to address an election rally in favour of Vikas and against jail birds-Peter and Pahan. Who will win? Though results for the Jharkhand assembly elections are scheduled for 23 December, Vikas sounds confidence of his victory. 

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