Opposition grand alliance falling apart in Jharkhand

Ranchi (IANS) WIth the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) deciding to go it alone in the forthcoming Assembly elections, efforts to build a grand alliance of the opposition parties seem to have fallen flat.

"It is too late for an alliance. I tried for a united front after the Lok Sabha polls, but it is too late now. We will go to the people's court independently in the Assembly polls. Let the people decide the fate of the parties," said former chief minister and JVM-P founder Babulal Marandi.

The Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) are making last ditch efforts to bring back Marandi to the opposition grand alliance fold. Jharkhand Congress president Rameshwar Oraon met Marandi on Monday but failed to make any impact on him.

"Efforts are on to bring Babulal Marandi into the grand opposition alliance. We are hopeful that JVM-P will strengthen the opposition in the fight against the BJP," said Kishore Sahdeo, Congress spokesperson to IANS.

The JMM is also making efforts to convince Marandi. "We want JVM-P should be part of the opposition grand alliance. We do not understand how it is too late," said Vinod Pandey, JMM spokesperson, to IANS.

The Congress and JMM are claiming that they are trying to bring Marandi into the opposition fold, but they have already finalised seat sharing among themselves. "The JMM will fight on 40-42 and the Congress on 28-32 seats respectively. The Left and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) will fight on 10 seats," said a source in the Congress to IANS.

However, JMM executive president Hemant Soren was in New Delhi to meet the Congress leaders and finalise the seat sharing. Sources in the Congress said that there are disagreements with the JMM on five seats. The final announcement of seat sharing among the JMM, Congress, RJD and the Left parties could take place on November 7 or 8.

In the Lok Sabha polls, the opposition grand alliance including the JMM, Congress, RJD and the JVM-P had fought the polls together. The alliance, however, had failed to make any impact.

Sources in the opposition said that since the Assembly polls are different from the Lok Sabha polls as more localised issues count, their performance could be better. If the 2014 vote percentage is taken into consideration, then a united opposition can give the BJP a very tough time in the forthcoming 2019 polls.

The BJP had won 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2014, but it won only 37 of the 81 Assembly seats. Its vote share in the 2014 Assembly polls was 31.3 per cent and its alliance partner AJSU had got 3.7 per cent vote share.

In 2014 the JMM, Congress and JVM-P fought separately and won 19, 7 and 8 seats respectively. The RJD had failed to open its account. The JMM, Congress, JVM-P got 20.4, 10.5 and 10 per cent votes respectively. If the JMM, Congress and JVM-P votes are added together, then their share goes up to over 40 per cent.

The Assembly elections in Jharkhand would be held in five phases from November 30 to December 20. The results will be announced on December 23.

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