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Jharkhand polls: Campaigning ends for first phase of polls on Nov 25

PTI 23 Nov 2014, 17:58:58 PM IST

Ranchi:  Campaigning today ended in 13 Maoist-affected constituencies going to the polls on November 25 in the first phase of five-stage elections to the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly.

Electioneering had picked up in Palamau, Gumla and Latehar districts between November 21 and November 23 with Prime Narendra Narendra Modi and Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi canvassing for their respective candidates with the focal point being as to why Jharkhand remained backward and underdeveloped despite having abundant mineral resources.  

Modi even compared the state with Australia having the same resources and population ratio, yet lagging far behind. He also attacked JMM for dynastic rule in Jharkhand in a reference to JMM supremo Shibu Soren and his Chief Minister son Hemant Soren, while asking people to end “pariwarwad” (dynastic rule) and give the BJP an opportunity.  

Responding to Modi's barb, Hemant Soren sought to know why the PM had appointed Jayant Sinha in his Cabinet even though Sinha's father Yashwant Sinha is a former Union Finance Minister.

Sonia Gandhi attacked Modi accusing BJP of being responsible for the underdevelopment as that party was in power in the state for 11 out of 14 years of the state's existence.

Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi claimed the Centre was slowly shelving the programmes initiated by the previous UPA government. RJD leader Lalu Prasad talked about social justice and communal harmony while his bête noire and Union Minister of State for Drinking Water and Sanitation Ram Kripal Yadav said Prasad was not even fit to contest village-level elections.  

Former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi claimed it was only his Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) that could bring development to the state and do justice. Stray incidents of violence took place during the campaigning as Maoists allegedly torched campaign vehicles in Chatra and Gumla districts, while two clashes erupted in Daltonganj.