The Congress on Tuesday released the first list of 26 candidates for the five-phase assembly elections in Jharkhand even as the deadlock over a pre-poll alliance with Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) of Babulal Marandi continued.
Both sides have stuck to their respective positions with Marandi, a former BJP leader and the first chief minister of Jharkhand, adamant on contesting 31 seats in the 81-member house.
The Congress was not willing to give more than 25 seats to JVM. A section in the Congress was of the view that the party would benefit by going it alone in the polls. This section was apparently buoyed by the Lok sabha results and the response to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the state last month.
The Congress had been trying to woo Marandi, a Lok sabha member from Kodarma, after the party closed its option of forging a pre-poll alliance with Shibu Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). The two parties had jointly contested the Lok Sabha elections in Jharkhand, which had been under President’s Rule for the past nine months.
Marandi had extended outside support to the UPA government after the Lok Sabha elections, indicating his willingness to go with the Congress in assembly polls.
If the talks between the two sides fail to make headway in the next few days, the Congress is all set to go it alone in the state, where the first phase is on November 25. The other four phases are on December 2, 8, 12 and 18. Counting of votes is on December 23.