Jharkhand's leaders across party lines voiced their unease on Saturday over the Election Commission's decision to countermand the Jharkhand Rajya Sabha poll after Rs 2.15 crore were impounded from a vehicle.
While the EC saw its decision as a "deterrent", Congress candidate and state president Pradeep Balmuchu sought a review: "The EC should review the decision." Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said, "The EC should review its decision and the President should look into all aspects of the poll." BJP's Harendra Kumar Singh also accused the EC of being "overactive".
The BJP leadership, however, played it down. "We respect the EC's decision. In fact, we decided to vote to ensure money power didn't get important in the state," BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad told HT.
There is, however, some unease even within sections of the party's national leadership. "This was quite an honest election in Jharkhand where political candidates were slated to win and moneyed businessmen were likely to be rejected," a BJP leader said.
With the election process likely to begin afresh, party positions and alliances would again become crucial. While BJP leaders say it would be a fresh election now, there is a perception that the party will have to repeat the same formula of supporting the JMM candidate.
The decision to support the JMM was taken after internal differences, with some leaders saying the party should abstain. The abstention approach was adopted just after the party distanced itself from NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra.