Congress demands more seats, JMM in a bind in Jharkhand

  • Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 31, 2014 11:39 IST

Flexing its muscles, the Congress is demanding a greater pie in the seat sharing talks with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) for the coming state assembly elections. Congress sources said the party has sought 45 out of the total 81 seats and told the JMM leadership to accommodate the RJD and the JD(U) from its quota.

Congress leaders said the party has “no problem” with continuing an alliance provided the JMM does not have an “expansionist attitude like the NCP”.

“We are ready for an alliance but not at the cost of our party. The NCP wanted to expand at our cost…We will not allow that,” a senior central functionary said.
The state unit has been divided on the issue of pre-poll alliance with the JMM with a section suggesting that the party should go it alone.

However, another section is keen that the Congress keeps its alliance with the RJD and JD(U) intact since the three parties together fought the recent byelections in Bihar.

To keep the BJP in check, the three parties have also indicated that they might jointly fight the next year’s crucial assembly elections in Bihar.

A delegation of Jharkhand Congress leaders, led by state president Sukhdeo Bhagat, this week met Congress president Sonia Gandhi to discuss the alliance issue.
Meanwhile, the BJP is confident of a good show in Jharkhand with its internal assessment suggesting that the party tally could cross 50 this time.

If that happens, the state that was created in 2000 and saw 9 chief ministers and three terms of President’s rule term would for the first time, have a stable government.

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