Kingmaker Lalu Yadav's RJD losing ground in Jharkhand

Ranchi (IANS) There was a time when prominent leaders of the UPA in Jharkhand would visit RJD chief Lalu Yadav often but now the party is left fending for itself in the state.

The RJD chief played the role of a kingmaker in Jharkhand. He was instrumental in the formation of the Madhu Koda government in 2006 and also played a key role in the formation of the JMM government led by Shibu Soren in 2009.

The opposition parties' Grand Alliance cold-shouldered the RJD in its seat-sharing deal. The RJD wanted to fight the Palamau and Chatra Lok Sabha seats. 

But as per the initial seat-sharing deal, RJD was offered the Chatra seat and Jharkhand Vilas Morcha-Prajtantrik (JVM-P) was offered Koderma and Palamau seats. JVM-P declined to fight from Palamau as it wanted to fight from the Godda Lok Sabha seat.

Considering the demand of the JVM-P, the alliance partners agreed to give Godda and Koderma seats to JVM-P and Chatra was given to the Congress. RJD was offered Palamau.

The opposition Grand Alliance partners on Sunday announced the seat-sharing deal. No RJD representative was present at the joint press conference organised by the Grand Alliance partners.

RJD sources said that the party had almost finalszed the name of Subhas Yadav, a leader from Bihar for the the Chatra seat. The sources further said that former RJD state president Annapurna Devi was not happy with the party stand to field Subhash Yadav as she considered him an outsider. 

Even though she was party president, she was not consulted in the slection process of the Chatra Lok Sabha candidate. 

The RJD suffered another jolt when Annapurna Devi joined the BJP in New Delhi. Annapurna Devi met BJP president on Monday in New Delhi and later joined the party in presence of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and party general secretary Bhupendra Yadav.

This is a big shock for the RJD in Jharkhand. Annapurna Devi was the face of the RJD in the state. She had won the Assembly polls four times. Annapurna Devi is wife of late Ramesh Prasad Yadav, who was a Minister in undivided Bihar in the Lalu Yadav government. He died due to a heart attack in 1996. After his death, Annapurna Devi fought the Assembly polls from Koderma and won the seat till 2014.

RJD, however, is putting up a brave front. "There will be no impact on the party after the exist of Annapurna Devi. People come and go. We reiterate our demand to fight from Chatra and Palamau seats," Gautam Sagar Rana, the new president of the Jharkhand RJD, told reporters on Tuesday.

The RJD is gradually losing ground in Jharkhand.

The RJD had fought from Palamau in 2014 Lok Sabha elections but lost the seat. In 2014 Assembly polls, RJD failed to open an account in the state Assembly. The RJD had won seven seats in the 2009 Assembly polls.

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