The alliance between the Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Janata Dal (United) in Jharkhand has fallen apart at the seams in the ongoing assembly elections, with all three parties fielding candidates against each other and fighting more seats than agreed under an informal pre-poll deal.
The parties, who pitted their candidates against each other in the first of the five-phase elections on Tuesday, will do so again in the three prestigious seats of Dhanbad, Bokaro and Giridih that go to the polls on December 14, party members said.
All three parties agreed to field a certain number of candidates before the polls, with the Congress bagging the lion’s share of 56 seats, the RJD agreeing to contest in 16 seats and the JD(U) settling for nine. However, they flouted the agreement once elections began and the alliance is now in a shambles, with parties blaming each other for the violation.
“The Congress is committed to honouring the alliance. Our candidates in Sindri and Bokaro are official candidates. Now it is up to the RJD and JD(U) to honour the poll alliance,” said Jharkhand state Congress Committee general secretary Ajay Dubey, adding only state party in-charge BK Hariprasad could say whether the alliance was intact.
The Congress fielded popular trade union leader Jairam Singh Yadav from the Sindri assembly seat of Dhanbad as per the alliance agreement.
But on the last date of filing nominations, JD(U)’s Sushil Kumar Singh filed his nomination from the constituency.
The discord in the alliance could prove to be a spoiler for the three parties in Jharkhand, where coming together gave them an outside chance of battling a resurgent BJP and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the two parties fast emerging as the major contenders in these polls.
“Party has candidates on 11 seats against the quota of nine. Candidates from two seats will be withdrawn after consultation with the Congress,” JD(U) state in-charge Shravan Kumar said, refusing, however, to withdraw candidates from Sindri and Jharia.