Of 14 LS seats, Cong to fight 6, JMM 4, RJD 1, JVM 2, CPI 1
After Bihar and Maharashtra, the Congress has firmed up its alliance with regional parties in neighbouring Jharkhand for Lok Sabha elections and later the State Assembly polls. The alliance to take on BJP will have five parties — Congress, JMM, RJD, CPI and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM).
The anti-BJP alliance in the State has also agreed to project JMM working president Hemant Soren as the CM candidate for the State Assembly polls later this year.
Of the 14 seats in Jharkhand, the JMM will contest in four seats, according to sources. One seat — either Palamu or Chatra — will go to RJD. JVM will be contesting in two seats and the CPI will contest from Hazaribagh, a seat held by Union Minister Jayant Sinha. Congress will field its candidates on the remaining seats. The BJP won 12 of the 14 seats in Jharkhand in the last Lok Sabha elections. The remaining two were won by the JMM. The Congress which contested in nine seats in alliance with the JMM lost in all nine.
As a pre-condition for a tie-up in Lok Sabha elections, the JMM has been insisting on projection of Soren as the chief ministerial candidate for the Assembly polls. The demand seems to have been met by the alliance partners.
The ties between the JMM and the Congress had soured last month when the former supported an Independent candidate in the Kolebera bypolls to the State Assembly. The Congress, however, managed to win the seat defeating the BJP by more than 10,000 votes.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi had earlier said we will contest the State Assembly elections under Soren’s leadership and it was reiterated in the meeting,” Jharkhand Congress president Ajay Kumar said after a meeting of Opposition parties in Ranchi on Thursday.
“You can see all of us here together. We will discuss contours of our alliance within our party and finalise the seat-sharing arrangement by this month-end,” JVM chief Babulal Marandi said after the meeting. Marandi who was in BJP became the first Chief Minister after Bihar was bifurcated and Jharkhand came into existence. Later he quit over differences and formed JVM and tied up with Congress in couple of elections.
Jharkhand is the third State where Congress has stitched an alliance with regional parties after Bihar and Maharashtra. The party, however, failed to get berth in the alliance formed by once UP rivals Akhilesh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party and Mayawati’s BSP.