Unlike Maharashtra and Haryana where it went alone, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is going into Jharkhand assembly polls with two alliance partners — All Jharkhand Students Unions (AJSU) party, given eight seats, and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) contesting on one seat.
The Ram Vilas Paswan led party, which has restricted mandate in Jharkhand, will contest the scheduled tribe (ST) reserved Shikaripara seat in Dumka district, a predominantly Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) bastion.
LJP Jharkhand president Babban Gupta said that talks were on for two seats but the BJP has finalised only one seat for them so far. “Despite their negligent presence in the state, we have given them one seat to contest,” BJP national vice-president and a chief minister hopeful, Raghuvar Das told HT. “We are not an untouchables’ party,” he said, adding, “Wherever we find like-minded parties we offer for alliances.”
BJP insiders said that Shikaripara has always been BJP’s loss project. BJP is likely to use Paswan, a strong Dalit politician, for effective campaigning in the SC seats and polarise votes.
Alliance with LJP in Jharkhand was paramount for BJP as the assembly elections in neighbouring Bihar is due next year. With RJD and JD (U) joining hands, BJP will require LJP’s support to clinch power.
Meanwhile, in Jammu and Kashmir, where talks between the two parties sharing power at the Centre failed, both BJP and LJP fielded separate candidates for Habbakadal seat.