RANCHI: In a setback to the ruling BJP in Jharkhand, the party's chief whip, Radhakrishna Kishore, on Tuesday joined NDA ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party after he was denied renomination for Chhatarpur (SC) seat.
A five-time MLA, Kishore has been a member of the Congress and the Janata Dal (United) before joining the BJP.
He has now quit the BJP to embrace a regional party. His decision to quit the BJP was triggered by the party's announcement of Pushpa Devi as its candidate from Chhatarpur.
Kishore also had a brief stint as a minister in one of the Arjun Munda governments before being replaced by then JD(U) president Jaleshwar Mahto.
This time, Mahto is contesting from Baghmara on a Congress ticket.
The AJSU Party, which has been an ally of the BJP since the creation of the state 19 years ago, has demanded 17 seats from the BJP to contest the Jharkhand assembly elections.
"Radhakrishna Kishore joined AJSU Party," AJSU Party president and former deputy chief minister Sudesh Kumar Mahto said.
Kishore joined during a "Milan Samaroh' of the AJSU Party here, he said.
Asked whether Kishore will be given party ticket from Chhatarpur assembly constituency, Sudesh Mahto said, "Our Parliamentary Board will take a decision over it.
" To another query as to how many more seats AJSU Party will announce after declaring its first list of 12 candidates on Monday, Mahto said, "We have placed 17 seats (before the BJP) and let discussion happen on them.
He also said there should be a "common minimum agenda" from both the NDA allies as "the public should know about it".
Incidentally, both the BJP and the AJSU Party have announced to field their respective candidates from Chakradharpur, Sindri and Simaria seats.
The BJP's state unit president Laxman Gilua has been nominated for Chakradharpur and he will face AJSU Party's Ramlal Munda.
In its first list, the BJP has announced 52 candidates. Reacting to Kishore's decision to quit the party, BJP's state unit spokesman Pratul Shahdeo said, "The BJP's simple philosophy is fighting elections on ideology. Crores of workers are working for the party, which decides on candidatures. It is unfortunate that the leaders only want to become MLAs or MPs. We can only wish good luck to such leaders".
Jharkhand has 81 assembly seats. The fourth assembly elections since Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar on November 15, 2000, will be held in five phases between November 30 and December 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.