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Karia Munda seeks double hat-trick

April 13, 2004 18:20 IST

Seeking a double hat trick from the Khunti Lok Sabha constituency, Union Minister Karia Munda's poll battle is a straight contest with Sushila Kerketa of Congress, whom he has defeated thrice since 1996.

Poll observers believe Munda, the minister for non-conventional energy, could achieve the feat, as Khunti has a substantial Christian population, resulting in polarization of votes.

Munda's campaigning focuses on the setting up of schools and construction of roads during his stints in 1989, 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999, and urging the electorate to help Vajpayee return to power to enable him complete some 'unfinished' works, says BJP leader and a member of his campaigning committee Prem Kataruka.

Munda, who increased his polling percentage from 33.18 in 1989 to 46.31 in 1999, is facing a different propaganda from the Congress nominee.

"He has been MP for six times (Kadia also won in 1977), but he has done nothing for sadans (non-tribals). He has not worked for increase in reservation for non-tribal backward class though he has been in the Cabinet for several years," says Kerketa, who had won Khunti assembly polls in 1985, 1990 and 1995.

In a poll meeting on Monday where Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was present, Munda denied the charges, saying it was the Congress government at the Centre, which had passed the Panchayat Act in 1996.

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