Bihar parties step up efforts to fight Jharkhand polls

Photo: IANS

Ranchi (IANS) With Assembly polls to be held in Jharkhand soon, top political parties from neighbouring Bihar are also gearing up to fight elections in the state.

As most of the parties have a large following in Bihar, they are trying to gain a foothold and wider acceptance in Jharkhand.

One of them is the ruling Janata Dal United (JD-U) of Bihar, which lost its arrow election symbol in Jharkhand. Nitish Kumar, the National President of the party, dominates ally Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Bihar politics, but in Jharkhand the party is in search of ground that can help it to get the required number of votes to get national party status again.

In the 2014 Assembly polls, the JD-U failed to win a single seat in Jharkhand. There was a time when the BJP and JD-U used to fight polls together. The JD-U won six seats in 2005 and two in the 2009 Assembly polls. Before 2014 Assembly polls, the JD-U snapped its ties with the BJP in Bihar and fought the Jharkhand Assembly polls alone.

Nitish Kumar and poll strategist Prashant Kishore visited Ranchi early this month and held meetings with the party workers. The JD-U has decided to go solo in the forthcoming polls and sources say that even a single seat win will be considered an achievement.

Similarly, the Rashtriya Janata Dal(RJD) is trying to gain ground in the state. RJD had fought the 2019 Lok Sabha polls on two seats in the state, but failed to make its presence felt. The RJD scored a zero in the 2014 Assembly polls, but won five seats in 2009 and six in 2005 Assembly polls. RJD chief Lalu Prasad had a big say in Jharkhand politics when independent legislator Madhu Koda formed the government with its support in 2006.

The RJD may have no seat in both Lok Sabha and Assembly from Jharkhand, but Lalu still has some influence over the opposition. Currently being treated at the paying ward of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), Lalu is trying to unite the opposition to fight the polls together against the BJP.

State Congress chief Rameshwar Oraon met Lalu in hospital on Saturday and discussed the alliance possibility. "Lalu Yadav wants the opposition parties to fight the polls together," Oraon said after meeting him.

Lalu's son Tejashwi Yadav, who is visiting the Santhal Pargana area of Jharkhand to assess the ground situation, said: "We are trying to fight the 2019 Assembly polls in alliance with the opposition parties to oust the BJP government. RJD will improve its performance and win more seats than it had won in the past," Rajesh Yadav, RJD vice president, told IANS.

Another Bihar party, the Lok Jan Shakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan is also trying to make its presence felt in the state. LJP has never fought the Assembly or Lok Sabha poll in the state. In 2014 Assembly polls, it had supported the BJP. Chirag Paswan, son of Ram Vilas Paswan, last week addressed a rally in Palamu. He has demanded six Assembly seats from the BJP.

The BJP, however, is unlikely to concede a single seat considering the ground situation.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has its bows and arrow symbol intact and is aggressively gearing up to fight the BJP.

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