NEW DELHI: Bracing to contest the Jharkhand Assembly elections largely on its own steam, the BJP is hoping for a helping hand from the NDA ally JD (U) to negate anti-incumbency votes. The BJP will stick to its ally, All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), in the Assembly elections, which are likely to be held in multiple phases between November and December.
The JD (U) is gearing up to contest the Jharkhand polls in regions lying along Bihar border. Another NDA ally Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) will also be contesting on a few constituencies in the state.
“The BJP isn’t open to the idea of an alliance with any other party other than AJSU in Jharkhand. The JD (U) and LJP leaders, being aware of the BJP’s position, have also not contacted the party leadership. But we want both the NDA allies to contest the elections in the state,” said a top ranking BJP functionary.
The BJP-AJSU combine had wrested power in the state in the 2014 Assembly elections, with the two parties bagging 37 and five seats respectively. Afterwards, six of the eight legislators of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha had defected to the BJP.
“The JD (U) is largely eying the Kurmi vote base in the state. The BJP had a long-term Ranchi MP Ram Tehal Choudhary as the only leader with the mass following from the Kurmi caste. After he raised the flag of rebellion following denial of Lok Sabha nomination, we are worried that the caste may swing entirely in favour of the Congress.
The more the JD (U) manages to cut down the BJP losses, the better it would be for the party,” added the BJP functionary. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is seen as the tallest Kurmi leader in Bihar and Jharkhand.
The BJP is likely to set aside around 8-10 seats for AJSU. The party is hopeful that former chief minister Babu Lal Marandi (JVM) wouldn’t damage the saffron outfit enough in the upcoming polls.