Putting an end to speculations and resolving the vexed issue of seat-sharing, the five-party Mahagathbandhan in Jharkhand, which has 14 Lok Sabha constituencies, has stitched a formidable alliance.
The alliance will see the Congress taking the lead role. The other four alliance partners are: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), RJD, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) and the Left.
Multiple sources in the Congress, RJD and JMM confirmed to DH in Ranchi on Thursday about the deal being sealed. However, the formal announcement will be made a week later in New Delhi.
According to reliable sources, the Congress will contest six Lok Sabha seats, while the JMM will field its candidates in four parliamentary constituencies. Babulal Marandi’s JVM will contest two parliamentary seats in Jharkhand while the RJD and Left will field its nominee on one seat each.
In this tribal-dominated state, former chief minister Shibu Soren heads the JMM, while the first chief minister of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi (previously with the BJP) heads the JVM.
The Left has been included in the five-party alliance as it was CPI’s Bhubaneshwar Prasad Mehta who had defeated BJP’s senior leader Yashwant Sinha in Hazaribagh in 2004.
Sinha, a former finance minister, was then India’s external affairs minister when he had to bite the dust in his bastion.
“The seat-sharing talks have been fruitful. But the final announcement will be made by senior Congress leaders, including former Union minister R P N Singh, who is also in-charge of Jharkhand affairs,” Dr Ajoy Kumar, president of the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee (JPCC), told DH.
“The vexed issue of seat-sharing agreement could be reached upon after the JMM agreed to allow the Congress to play the role of big brother during parliamentary elections, while it (JMM) would play the lead role during the Assembly elections,” said another source in the Congress dwelling at length how the seat-pact was actually a tit-for-tat agreement.
Assembly polls are slated in Jharkhand in November and December this year.
“Six months after the Lok Sabha polls, the Assembly elections in Jharkhand will also be contested under the same alliance. During that time, JMM’s working president Hemant Soren will be projected as the chief ministerial candidate,” the source, aware of the deal, added.
2014 Lok Sabha polls:
Total seats: 14
2019 Lok Sabha polls:
(Possible seat-sharing pact in Mahagatbandhan):