RANCHI: The Congress appears to have run into a welter of parties and their respective claims to seats, even as it struggles to balance a ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) in Jharkhand.Tribal-dominated political parties such as the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) of Sibu Soren, and former CM Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) are the lead allies with as good a base as with Congress jointly, which has made for tough bargaining.Sources within the Congress say the party is trying to placate the allies by offering half of the 14 seats.
JMM Executive President Hemant Soren had met Congress President Rahul Gandhi on February 7 and claimed to have sealed a seat sharing arrangement, by which the Congress would contest seven seats, JMM 4, JVM 2 and Lalu Prasad’s RJD 1.However, the JMM has revised its stand to claim six seats—Rajmahal, Dumka, Giridih, Chaibasa, Jamshedpur and Khunti, while JVM wants to contest Godda, Koderma and Chatra.
“Based on 2014 experience, we want that seat sharing for Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections are finalised together, but the Congress is not ready for it”, said JMM General Secretary Vinod Pandey.
JVM Chief Babulal Marandi said the seat sharing formula had not taken final shape so far since all alliance partners wanted to contest the maximum number of seats.
The Congress Party, however, claimed that there were no differences regarding seat sharing and it was ready to make sacrifices to make the ‘mahagathbandhan’ work. “There are no outstanding issues among the alliance partners as we are ready to sacrifice Godda seat to JVM as they are more eager to contest,” said Congress spokesperson Rajesh Thakur.
State unit chief’s seat may also go to allies
Congress insiders say that as a goodwill gesture, the party might even sacrifice the seat of state party president Dr Ajoy Kumar from Jamshedpur, if required. No decision has been taken on two seats.