RANCHI: With the Election Commission starting the clock for the Jharkhand Assembly polls, announcing it will be held in five phases from November 30, the state may witness a triangular contest with JVM-P chief Babulal Marandi playing the spoiler in building a grand alliance against the ruling NDA.
Polling will end on December 20 and results will be out on December 23.
While the Opposition alliance is yet to take shape due to seat-sharing issues, Marandi’s party has indicated its intention of going it alone and fielding candidates in all 81 seats.
For the record, JVM-P chose ambivalence. “We are in a wait-and-watch mode, but are free to take any decision independently,” said JVM-P spokesperson Saroj Singh.
Within the rest of the Opposition — Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, RJD and Left — efforts are on to hammer out a seat-sharing deal. Congress and JMM had mutually agreed to swap the leadership role in the grand alliance. While Congress led it for the Lok Sabha elections, the JMM will play big brother in the grand alliance during Assembly polls.
However, senior Opposition leaders like JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya claim all differences have been ironed out. The seat-sharing formula doing the rounds is JMM 43-45, Congress 27-29, RJD 5 and Left 4.
For the ruling BJP’s state unit, which will harp on nationalism and development to seek a repeat mandate, it will be a challenge to achieve the target of 65-plus seats set by its central leadership.