Taking a dig at the poor turnout at Congress rallies in the state, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said on Friday it would like to see Rahul Gandhi address more public meetings which would only further help the saffron party.
Hinting to the fact that Gandhi’s meetings provided opportunities to the BJP to slam the UPA alliance, party national spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said in Ranchi: "Rahul's rallies benefit the BJP, we want him to address more rallies in Jharkhand."
A five-phase election for the 81 assembly seats in Jharkhand began on November 25. The BJP is contesting 72 seats and has given eight seats to ally AJSU Party and one seat to Lok Janshakti Party. The Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Janata Dal (United) have formed a grand alliance to combat a gung-ho BJP. The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is going it alone.
The ‘Modi-fied’ BJP had put up an excellent show in the April-May Lok Sabha elections, winning 12 of the 14 seats in the state. The Congress failed to bag even one seat in Jharkhand, while the JMM bagged two seats in its stronghold, the Santhal Parganas.
Hussain said seeing the response in the first phase of the Jharkhand election, the BJP was sure of winning a 2/3rd majority in the state. He said he was also campaigning in the Kashmir Valley and the response of people there was amazing.
"When we are all set to win in unknown turf of J&K, winning in Jharkhand will not be a problem," he said.
The BJP has ruled Jharkhand in coalition governments for at least 9 of 14 years. Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in November 2000.
Hussain also commented on the alleged tiff between Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi and former JD(U) CM Nitish Kumar. He said Kumar was failing to control Manjhi and was losing ground to him in Patna. He said Manjhi was a better chief minister than Kumar and had more experience.
"Nitish has become a speed-breaker for Manjhi, but I appreciate the way he (Manjhi) is standing up for himself," Hussain said.
On the UPA's criticism of the BJP's refusal to disclose the list of people with black money, Hussain said as per an international treaty the centre could not disclose the names of the accused until they are proved guilty.
"The Congress wants the treaty broken as it is afraid of the second list of black money holders," he said.