Question mark over BJP-JD-U alliance in Jharkhand


Ranchi : With the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and ally Janata Dal-United (JD-U) striking discordant notes over seat sharing ahead of the Jharkhand assembly polls, a question mark hangs over their alliance.

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The Bihar leaders of both parties want the alliance to go on, but some of their leaders in Jharkhand think differently. Jharkhand is currently under President’s Rule and the five-phase election will be held to the 81-member assembly from Nov 25.

Sources in BJP say the number of seats given to the JD-U will matter.

“In Jharkhand, the situation is different from Bihar. Here the BJP is stronger and the JD-U has a marginal presence in a few constituencies. We are considering giving five to seven seats to the JD-U,” a BJP leader told IANS.

In the 2005 assembly elections, the BJP allowed the JD-U to contest from 12 seats. But the BJP leader said: “Forget 2005. The situations has changed. We cannot give more than five to seven seats to JD-U.”

The JD-U is looking at other options in the state. “We are in touch with other parties. It is the BJP leaders of Jharkhand who have said they want to go it alone,” said Bhim Singh, BJP’s Jharkhand in charge.

In Bihar, the two parties have shared power as part of the National Democratic Alliance NDA) for nearly four years. Bihar’s JD-U Chief Minister Nitish Kumar Wednesday took part in a two-day programme of the JD-U in Bokaro district.

“BJP chief Rajnath Singh has spoken to JD-U president Sharad Yadav over the alliance issue. We will consider it in Bokaro,” said Nitish Kumar. At the same time, he said the JD-U’s position in Jharkhand had strengthened since the last elections.

According to sources in the JD-U, the final decision over staying on with the BJP for the polls will be taken in Patna in a few days.

Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, who is from the BJP, two days ago said that the NDA would be weakened if both the parties contested separately in Jharkhand.

Both parties fought the 2005 assembly and the 2009 Lok Sabha elections together in Jharkhand. Enthused by its performance in Jharkhand in the Lok

Sabha battle, the BJP said it would fight the coming polls on its own.

The BJP won eight of the 12 Lok Sabha seats it contested in Jharkhand. The JD-U fought in two seats but lost both. After the defeat, the Jharkhand JD-U accused the BJP of supporting the rival candidates.

Jharkhand BJP president Raghubar Das has said: “We have authorised the central leaders to take a decision over the alliance with JD-U. The state JD-U should understand Nitish Kumar’s indication.”

In the 2005 elections, the BJP won 30 and the JD-U six seats in the state. Both parties shared power for six years in Jharkhand after its formation in November 2005.