BJP, AJSU in seat sharing logjam ahead of Jharkhand polls

Ranchi (IANS) Jharkhand's ruling BJP is having a tough time finalising its seat sharing with ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) for the upcoming state Assembly elections, with the latter asking for 15 seats and the saffron party adamant on sticking to their 2014 arrangement.

AJSU President Sudesh Mahto was supposed to meet the BJP's state and central leadership, including working chief Amit Shah, in Delhi on Thursday to finalise the seat sharing and names of the candidates. While the state BJP leaders, including Chief Minister Raghubar Das, went to Delhi, Mahto stayed at home in Silli.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the AJSU have been allies since the creation of Jharkhand in November 2000.

In the 2014 Assembly polls, the two parties fought on 73 and eight seats, and won 37 and five seats respectively. Mahto lost the Assembly polls.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, BJP conceded the Giridih seat in favour of AJSU, which managed to win it. Buoyed by this win, AJSU started demanding 22 seats in the upcoming Assembly elections and has now brought down that number to 15 seats.

Sources in AJSU say that the party is unhappy as the BJP wants two of its sitting Assembly seats in these elections.

AJSU's Kamal Kishore Bhagat had won the Lohardagga Assembly constituency in 2014. He was disqualified from the Assembly after he was convicted in a criminal case and awarded seven years imprisonment. In the bypoll thereafter, Congress leader Sukhdeo Bhagat won the seat. Now Sukhdeo Bhagat has joined the BJP, which wants to field him from Lohardagga.

However, BJP Vice President Deepak Prakash denies any rift between the allies. "There is no issue over seat sharing with the AJSU. Everything will be finalised by Friday evening or Saturday morning," he told IANS.

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