Dhanbad: In a star-studded campaign in Dhanbad Lok Sabha constituency, local issues are on the backburner. BJP president Amit Shah, film star-turned politician Shatrughan Sinha, and cricketer-turned Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu who came for campaigning talked about Masood Azhar, India becoming a superpower, and the Kashmir problem. Congress president Rahul Gandhi led a roadshow from Maturiya to Bank More impressed the voters to elect Congress candidate Kirti Azad. Congress will grant loan waiver to the farmers, he assured. But the burning issue of Jharia underground fire which threatens the lives of millions of people was not the central issue.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das who addressed an election meeting in support of the sitting BJP candidate P N Singh on Thursday talked of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi holidaying on INS Virat with his family members endangering national security. Over a million people of the region are facing threats to their subsidence. For the last two years, the 70-year-old Raja Sheo Prasad College of Jharia had been shut down as underground fire reached the college premises, the leading cinema halls of the town have been closed due to the underground fire, over two lakh people have been shifted outside the town under the Jharia rehabilitation and development Plan of Rs one lakh crores. The first phase of the resettlement plan at Belgaria under Baliyapur block has been completed.
Poonam Azad, wife of Kirti Azad, who is camping here for the last 15 days has issued an appeal, a letter from the Bahu, seeking votes in the name of Azad. Kirti Azad has got the support from veteran labour leader Samresh Singh, a former minister of Jharkhand who has appealed to the coal mine workers of Jharia and steel city Bokaro to support the Congress candidate. Azad is seeking support of the people on development agenda and listing the programmes for development of Jharia and Dhanbad, if elected to the Lok Sabha and reminds them of the development works done by him as MP of Darbhanga for ten years.
With the road show of Rahul Gandhi, the dissident Congress leaders have ignored their differences and decided to campaign for Kirti Azad. Chandrashekhar Dubey, a former MP who too was a claimant for the party ticket sought five minutes time of Rahul Gandhi, to which the Congress president directed him “You ensure victory of the Congress nominee, I will give you an audience of more than 15 minutes”.