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Monday, Nov 18, 2019

BJP eyes 65+ seats in J’khand, Oppn aims to better Haryana, Maharashtra show

The NDA is upbeat after grabbing 12 of the 14 seats in the April-May Lok Sabha polls and is targeting to win at least 65 seats in the state

assembly-elections Updated: Nov 01, 2019 18:20 IST
Bedanti Saran
Bedanti Saran
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Chief minister Raghubar Das took out a
Chief minister Raghubar Das took out a "Jan Ashirvad Yatra" last month in preparation of the Assemby polls.(HT Photo)

Assembly polls in Jharkhand will be held in five phases on November 30, December 7, 12, 16 and 20 while results will be declared on December 23, the election commission announced on Friday, stirring up the preparations for the electoral battle between BJP led formation and the Opposition grand alliance-- led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

The ruling BJP is banking on government’s achievements under Chief Minister Raghubar Das to win a record 65 plus seats in the 81-member assembly, while the opposing alliance is taking inspiration from Maharashtra and Haryana, where Assembly results were not as promising as expected for the BJP.

Jharkhand saw six Opposition MLAs-- two each from the Congress and the JMM, one from Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and one independent-- join the BJP in October.

State congress president Rameshwar Oraon said defections will not have any impact and the BJP will be crushed in Jharkhand.

“They got much less than what they were expecting in Haryana and Maharashtra. The half-done exercise – to oust them from power-- will now be completed in Jharkhand,” Oraon said.

The NDA is upbeat after grabbing 12 of the 14 seats in the April-May Lok Sabha polls and is targeting to win at least 65 seats in the state. The saffron party is showcasing the “achievements” of the “double engine government”---a political catch phrase used to describe synergy between the twin governments of Raghubar Das in Ranchi and Narendra Modi in New Delhi.

The BJP- AJSU (All Jharkhand Students Union) coalition government is the first in the state to complete a full five year term.

Till 2014, no party or pre-poll alliance had won majority on its own and none of the coalition governments had lasted full term. The state known for political instability has seen a host of experiments, including an independent legislator Madhu Koda serving as its chief minister, with outside support from few mainstream parties.

Raghubar Das also holds the distinction of being the first non-tribal to become Jharkhand’s chief minister. Tribals make the single-biggest chunk of voters here with around 26 per cent total population, as per the 2011 census.

“We are contesting this election on four planks, development, nationalism, 65 plus seats and Ghar Ghar Raghubar. The electorate knows what all has been done in the past five years by the Narendra Modi government at the Centre and Raghubar Das government in the state,” said Pratul Shahdeo, Jharkhand BJP spokesperson.

He said it was incorrect to compare Jharkhand with Haryana and Maharashtra as the eastern state was a “traditional” BJP stronghold. “We were new in Haryana, even then we excelled. Poll results in the above two states will not change our agenda,” he said.

Shahdeo said the BJP will also have the advantage of declaring its leader whereas the opposition bloc was yet to project a leader’s face.

“In fact, they want to live in a fool’s paradise,” Shahdeo said and added that the seat sharing pact with BJP’s alliance partners will soon be disclosed.

In 2014, all opposition parties had contested the assembly elections separately with the JMM winning 19 seats, JVM (P) eight and the Congress five seats while the RJD drew a blank. The Opposition is eager to join hands this time with an aim to stop the BJP juggernaut.

“We will soon announce the formation of grand alliance comprising of at least four political parties, JMM, Congress, JVM (P) and the RJD, “ said JMM’s general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya, adding, “We are working to finalize the seat sharing formula.”

Bhattacharya claimed JMM’s working president and the leader of the Opposition, Hemant Soren, will be the chief ministerial face of the grand alliance.”

He said the BJP had failed in governing and had worked against the aspirations of the state. “CM Raghubar Das, who is a non-tribal and an outsider, is himself an issue. Changes in the Land Acquisition Act and attempts to tinker with the Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy (SPT) Act will be one of the prime issues in the elections,” Bhattacharya added