Giridih/Ranchi: He is neither highly qualified, nor has a huge following on social media, but his and Kanhaiya Kumar – Communist Party of India’s candidate from Begusarai in Bihar -- have similar political challenges.
Meet Rajkumar Yadav, the candidate Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) in Koderma parliamentary constituency in Jharkhand. This Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) from Dhanwar is a mass leader, and his votes increase substantially with every election that he faces. His candidature on the Koderma Lok Sabha seat is so strong that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had to deny a ticket to its sitting MP, Ravindra Rai, who had also served as BJP state president in 2014 and helped the party win 12 out of 14 seats in Jharkhand.
The 46-year-old leader is only a matriculate but raises the public issues inside and outside the Assembly frequently and has even been jailed for the same. He has been embroiled in four cases, but all are of Sections 147, 148 and 323 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) nature, related to mass agitations led by him .
In 2004, when Yadav had fought Lok Sabha election for the first time – from prison – he had secured 1.36 lakh votes. In 2009, he got over 1.5 lakh votes to get the second position. During the 2014 election, when political pundits claimed there was a Narendra Modi wave, his votes crossed 2.5 lakh. That time, too, he was the runner up.
The Dhanwar legislator considers Mahendra Singh, the slain Bagoder MLA, as his mentor. It was Singh, a three-time legislator and a firebrand leader, who shaped Yadav’s political career.
Other political party leaders also have word of praise for the Dhanwar MLA. Arup Chatterjee, MLA from Nirsa Assembly segment, who accompanied Yadav for his nomination told eNewsroom, “Rajkumar ji is the only MLA in Jharkhand Assembly, who has raised many issues ferociously. Whether it is the issue of anganwadi, para-teachers, or against displacement or domicile policy of the government, from Ranchi to any place of the state where there was agitation, he led from the front. It will not only benefit the people of Koderma but the entire country, if such people reach Parliament.”
On April 11, Yadav filed his nomination papers for Koderma Lok Sabha seat as a CPI (ML) candidate. Koderma is one of the most politically important seats of Jharkhand, which is going to have a triangular fight, where he will take on BJP’s Annapurna Devi and Jharkhand Vikash Morcha (JVM) president and former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi. Annapurna had been associated with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)’s Jharkhand chief, days before she joined the BJP.
Marandi and Yadav have contested several Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Since 2004, the two have contested against each other in almost every election. And in the most recent, 2014 Assembly polls, he defeated Marandi.
Yadav believes, Marandi has no fight as he has represented Koderma in Parliament for 10 years, but failed its people by doing nothing for them. Every year thousands of men migrate from this town in search of work, the issue of migration and migrant workers will be one of the core issues for Yadav’s election campaign.
Talking about Annapurna he claims, that she had cheated the people who considered her a leader who believed in social justice and secularism. Annapurna, a Bengali by birth, had married a dominant Yadav leader and a prominent Rashtriya Janata Dal leader.
Like Kanhaiya Kumar, Yadav is also fighting the election against BJP and the Mahagathbandhan candidate.