The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) will counter the Congress' poll campaign led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party chief Sonia Gandhi for the Jharkhand assembly elections by fielding its national leaders like LK Advani, Rajnath Singh and Nitish Kumar, said an official on Saturday.
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader LK Advani, party president Rajnath Singh, and leaders like Arun Jaitely, Sushma Swaraj and Venkaiah Naidu will campaign in the state for the five-phased polls beginning on November 25. The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) national president Sharad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar will also campaign.
According to BJP leaders, Advani and Nitish Kumar will campaign together while Rajnath Singh and Sharad Yadav will address poll rallies together.
"The BJP and JD-U are still united while the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) fell flat in the state. The Congress has shown signs of opportunism by tying up with Babulal Marandi's party," former chief minister and BJP Lok Sabha MP Arjun Munda told IANS.
"People of the state have made up their mind to vote for a stable government and root out opportunists and those who have promoted corruption in the state. It was the Congress which made Madhu Koda chief minister of the state and supported his government despite the fact that he was plundering the state," Munda said.
The BJP and JD-U have cemented an alliance in the state. The BJP is fighting on 67 seats and the JD-U on 14 seats in the 81-seat Jharkhand assembly.
On the other hand, the Congress has forged an alliance with former BJP man Babulal Marandi, the first chief minister of Jharkhand. Marandi quit the BJP in 2006 and floated his own party, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P). The Congress will fight on 59 seats and JVM-P on 19 seats. Both will go for friendly fights on seven seats and two seats have been left for two independents.
The Congress will also field party general secretary Rahul Gandhi as one of its star campaigners.
The party has finalised a list of 40 leaders who will seek votes in the first phase of polling. They include union ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mukul Wasnik, Ambika Soni and Vilasrao Deshmukh. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit and Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot are also expected to campaign, a party source said.
Other prominent campaigners include former cricketer Mohammad Azharuddin and party leaders Digvijay Singh, Oscar Fernandes and Ajit Jogi.
The five-phase polls to the Jharkhand assembly will be held Nov 25-Dec 18 and the counting will take place on December 23.