BJP's ally problem in poll-bound Jharkhand

New Delhi (IANS) For the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which lost an opportunity to form a government in Maharashtra because of the difficult attitude of ally Shiv Sena, it may not be an end of the story in terms of problems from partners as it was facing a similar situation in poll-bound Jharkhand too.

In Jharkhand, where elections to its 81-member Assembly will be held in five phases from November 30, the BJP will have to fight against one of its oldest alliance partners, the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), which has decided to contest separately on all the seats in the state.

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had made the party's stand clear during the national council meeting last week in New Delhi, where he was re-elected as the JD-U chief for a second consecutive time.

A senior JD-U leader said the party will contest independently in the five-phased Jharkhand Assembly polls and not in alliance with the BJP.

The JD-U has a history of snubbing the BJP.

In 2013, after the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was projected as the BJP's Prime Ministerial face, the JD-U opposed the move and walked out of the alliance.

After the debacle in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the JD-U stitched a Grand Alliance with Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Congress in the state for the 2015 Assembly polls.

The Grand Alliance comprising the three parties cornered the BJP in the Assembly polls in the state. However in June 2017, the JD-U walked out of the alliance and again joined the NDA to form a government in the state.

The BJP and the JD-U contested on equal number of seats in the state during the Lok Sabha polls. However, the Nitish Kumar-led party did not join the Cabinet over differences on the respectable representation in the government.

Following the snubbing at the Centre, Nitish Kumar also did not gave more prominence to the BJP in the state in his cabinet expansion.

The JD-U also did not back the Modi government's ambitious Triple Talaq Bill in Parliament.

On the other hand, the BJP is also facing an uphill task of gaining the trust of other allies in the state.

The BJP had the Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as an alliance partner in the state till 2012. But the JMM also ditched the BJP and joined hands with the Congress in the state.

The Grand Alliance consisting of the JMM-Congress and the RJD have already announced their alliance in the state with Soren as its Chief Ministerial candidate.

The JMM will be contesting on 43 seats while the Congress 31, leaving the rest of the seven seats to the RJD.

The 81-member Jharkhand Assembly is set to go for a five-phased election from November 30 to December 20. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.

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