Alliance partners fight over seats in Jharkhand

first_imgThe grand alliance of Opposition parties in Jharkhand has run into trouble following tussle among the Congress, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) and the Communist Party of India (CPI) over seat distribution.This comes just days before the Congress is to launch its campaign with a rally by Congress president Rahul Gandhi and the other four alliance partners — the JVM, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the CPI — on March 2 in Ranchi.In principle, the alliance partners have agreed that the Congress will contest seven seats, the JMM four seats, the JVM two seats and the RJD one. The Congress is driving a hard bargain to improve its electoral presence here. In 2014, it drew a blank and in 2009, it won only one seat.The Congress and the JVM are both keen to contest from the Godda Lok Sabha constituency, currently held by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey. According to sources, JVM chief Babulal Marandi is adamant that Godda seat should go to his close associate Pradeep Yadav. The Congress, however, is not willing to concede the seat that it counts among one of its strongholds. Instead of Godda, the Congress has asked the JVM to fight from Chattra. The other seat it is offering is Kodarma which Mr. Marandi has won twice in 2006 and 2009.What makes it trickier for the Congress is that the JVM has a pan-Jharkhand presence and if it is not kept in good humour the party has the capacity to hurt the alliance in every seat.“We have resolved the issue but at this point I can’t say who will be fielded from Godda,” Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president Ajoy Kumar said. Talks on: MarandiMr. Marandi, however, had a different take. He said the talks were still on. “The Congress should remember that the aim at present should be to stall the BJP and Narendra Modi. And for that, one must choose the person who has the best chance to win,” Mr. Marandi told The Hindu. He conceded that considering the pressure from cadres in both parties, the resolution may take some more time.The Congress has also rejected the CPI’s demand for the Hazaribagh seat, which is currently held by BJP leader and Union Minister Jayant Sinha. The CPI candidate, Bhubneshwar Prasad Mehta, has won the seat twice in 2004 and in 1991. “We have already conveyed to the CPI that we will not able to spare any Lok Sabha seat for the party but will suitably accommodate it in the Assembly elections scheduled for the end of the year,” Mr. Kumar said.The CPI is mulling on going it alone in the Lok Sabha election as per the demand of its rank and file.The JMM too has been trying to get the Jamshedpur constituency. The PCC president is expected to fight from there and the Congress has told in no uncertain terms that it will not sacrifice the seat for the alliance. The four seats that are expected to go to JMM are Rajmahal, Dumka, Giridih and Khunti. Palmau, the Lok Sabha seat bordering Bihar, is expected to go to the RJD.last_img