Jharkhand polls: Rebel Saryu Rai becomes opposition’s cause

Ranchi (IANS) Former minister turned rebel, Saryu Rai is giving jitters to the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in Jharkhand, as the opposition is trying to make him a rallying point in its campaign strategy.

The main opposition party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) working president Hemant Soren has hinted at making Saryu Rai’s case as an issue of honesty versus corruption against the BJP.

Sensing an opportunity, Soren appealed to all the non-BJP parties to support Rai in the Jamshedpur East seat where from Chief Minister Raghubar Das is also fighting the polls.

Saryu Rai, who was the food and supply minister in Raghubar Das’ Cabinet till Sunday, has always carried an image of honesty and frankness even within the BJP. Now, after turning a rebel, Rai has been accusing the BJP leaders of corruption.

Rai has said that ‘some BJP leaders were not letting him speak on the issue of corruption’.

Sources in the JMM have said that Soren is going to use Rai’s statements not only against the chief minister but also to create a wave against the BJP in the state.

Social Media is also being used to campaign in favour of Saryu Rai. Some of these have linked the issue directly with Prime Minister Modi saying “it is to be seen what the Prime Minister will speak up on the issue of corruption now”.

Soren said: “Saryu Rai is an honest leader and he has challenged Chief Minister Raghubar Das, who is the epitome of corruption. We, in the opposition, should come in his support.”

Chief Minister Ragubar Das and Saryu Rai have never been on the best of terms in these five years. Rai has often criticised his own government on some of its decisions. He played an important role in busting the fodder scam and has also led many environment related campaigns.

Rai resigned from the cabinet after he was denied ticket to fight the Assembly polls.

On Sunday he announced to fight Assembly polls against the Chief Minister. And on Monday, while filing his nomination papers, Rai said: “It is a fight against fear and corruption.”

The Jamshedpur East seat has become centre of attraction after Rai decided to fight against the Chief Minister. He is fighting as an independent candidate, but he has not resigned from the membership of the BJP.

Das has been winning the Jamshedpur East seat since 1995.

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