Jharkhand may witness Maharashtra realignment replica

In 2019, the BJP has severed its decade-old-ties with its trusted ally AJSU and the two are now at loggerheads, often launching a tirade against each other during electioneering.

"Abki baar, 65 paar.” The BJP hoardings with this ambitious claim of winning 65 seats in the 81-member Assembly have been splashed all over Jharkhand.

Travelling from Koderma to Adityapur in Jamshedpur, a stretch of around 300 kms, one finds that 90 per cent of the hoardings/cut-outs/posters in the state is that of the BJP. And the kind of resources the ruling party has, no one doubts its propaganda machinery. 

But here are some bare facts. The BJP is contesting on 71 seats and has set a target of winning 65 Assembly seats. It seems next to impossible. Precisely because, during the 2014 Assembly elections, when the BJP contested the polls in alliance with the AJSU (All Jharkhand Students’ Union), it could win only 37 seats (and AJSU won five). Remember, Modi’s popularity was its peak in 2014.

In 2019, the BJP has severed its decade-old-ties with its trusted ally AJSU and the two are now at loggerheads, often launching a tirade against each other during electioneering.

AJSU president Sudesh Mahto had earlier served as Deputy Chief Minister of Jharkhand in previous regimes but when he lost the 2014 polls, there was no deputy CM from the AJSU in the BJP-led government headed by Raghubar Das.

Something similar had happened in Maharashtra too in 2014, when the Shiv Sena, after joining the Devendra Fadnavis Government five years ago, was deprived of Deputy Chief Minister’s post (although during Vajpayee-Advani era, efforts were made to keep BJP’s allies - be it Shiv Sena or AJSU - in good humour).

Post poll, later this month, something similar that happened in Maharashtra is in the offing in Jharkhand. 

Amit Shah, during one of the rallies in Jharkhand, claimed that BJP will get a majority on its own but at the same time hastened to add that if required, the saffron party may seek AJSU’s support as it was BJP’s natural alliance partner. “Hamne toh kabhi unse sambandh toda hee nahi (We never severed ties with them)”, Shah, the all-powerful BJP president-cum-Union Home Minister said.

But the AJSU was not impressed. “Let the result come on December 23. This time, we will not extend support. Others will have to back us,” said Sudesh Mahto, who has considerable clout over 7 per cent Mahtos (the powerful OBCs) in the state.

The Congress too has hinted of a replica of Maharashtra in Jharkhand. “There is every possibility of a re-run of Maharashtra in Jharkhand where the JMM and the Congress, the two alliance partners, could join hands with the AJSU, the estranged ally of BJP, and form the government, if the situation so arises” said Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupen Baghel, who is aggressively campaigning for his party in Jharkhand, which shares border with his state.

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