The Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) on Friday announced their seat-sharing arrangement for the upcoming Assembly polls and also declared that Leader of Opposition in Assembly Hemant Soren will be the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance.
AICC in-charge of Jharkhand, R P N Singh, told reporters, “This Mahagathbandhan was talked about a lot and today we have announced it. Jiski kam charcha hui use bhi dekh lijiyega (You will also see the party which was less talked about). The Congress will fight 31, JMM will contest 43 and RJD will contest seven seats. There was a discussion on who will be the chief of this gathbandhan. Hemant Soren will lead it and will be the chief ministerial candidate.”
Elections to the 81 Assembly seats in Jharkhand are to be held in five phases, from November 30 to December 20. In the last elections, the BJP won 37 seats, the JMM won 19 seats and the Congress won six seats.
While the Opposition alliance has not set aside any seat for Left parties yet, the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (P) has decided to go alone in the state polls.
While the absence of RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav at the press meet triggered speculation, JMM leader Hemant Soren said in reply to a question, “We have been discussing with RJD.Tejashwi ji is aware of the nature of alliance. He has some questions which will be dealt on time.”
Asked if the Left parties are out of the alliance, he said, “Please wait and watch.” Seats may be later given to Left parties at a later stage from the Congress, JMM or RJD share, he said.
It was announced that the RJD will contest Deoghar, Godda, Koderma, Chatra, Barkata, Chhatarpur and Hussainabad seats. For Congress and JMM, seat distribution for only the first phase was announced.
Thirteen seats are set to go to polls in the first phase. Out of them, Gumla, Bishunpur, Lohardaga and Manika are reserved for Scheduled Tribes (ST) and Chatra, Latehar, Chhatarpur are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC).
The remaining six are Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur, Hussainabad, Garhwa and Bhawanathpur. Out of these, the Congress will contest Lohardaga, Manika, Panki, Daltonganj, Bishrampur and Bhawanathpur and JMM will be fielding candidates at Gumla, Bishunpur, Latehar and Garhwa. RJD will contest Hussainabad, Chatra and Chattarpur.
Sources in the Opposition said feedback from the people had indicated that an alliance would put up a better fight against the BJP. But leaders of both Congress and JMM agree that the conversion of votes in favour of alliance candidates would be a challenge.
Some leaders also feel that JVM (P) would eat into the votes of alliance candidates