The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), which respectively hold the key to victory of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidates in the two Rajya Sabha seats of Jharkhand, are keeping their cards close to their chest.
The RJD is unhappy with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress for snubbing it in the Lok Sabha elections, while the JD-U is unhappy with the BJP, whom it charges with ditching it in the parliamentary elections and ensuring defeat of the JD-U party candidates.
The JMM and Congress, which have fielded one candidate each, need the RJD's support to win. However, the RJD has made it clear that it would not participate in any dinner policy of JMM and Congress called for the Rajya Sabha election.
"The JMM and Congress did not consult us before finalising names of RS candidates. RJD legislators will abide the directive of party chief Lalu Prasad. We have not decided whom we will vote for in the RS election," RJD's state unit chief Gautam Sagar Rana told reporters here.
Similarly, the JD-U had said it was undecided on supporting the BJP candidates and a decision would be taken by the party's central leadership.
A total of four candidates are in the fray for the two Rajya Sabha seat, with elections scheduled on June 20. The BJP has fielded Ajay Maroo and Anup Agrawal, while JMM has put up party supremo Shibu Soren's son Hemant Soren and the Congress has fielded Dheeraj Sahu.
Both the UPA and the BJP have started their campaign to get votes of the legislators. The BJP, which has 24 legislators, is banking on votes of four JD-U legislators, two of All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and some other independent legislators. The Congress and the JMM, which have nine and 17 legislators, respectively, have managed to get support of four independent legislators and are trying to get the support of the seven RJD legislators, which will facilitate their victory.
The strength of the 81-member Jharkhand assembly is currently 73 and each candidate needs at least 37 votes to win the election. The elections of both the seats are taking place separately and each legislator will cast two votes separately.
The two Rajya Sabha seats fell vacant after former external affairs minister and senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha was elected to Lok Sabha. The second seat fell vacant when Janata Dal-United (JD-U) MP Digvijay Singh quit to fight the Lok Sabha election as an independent candidate from Banka constituency in Bihar. Singh also won the election.