In a bid to put up a joint fight against the BJP, regional parties of Jharkhand have begun negotiations with Congress for reaching an understanding on seat-sharing for Lok Sabha polls next year. While the negotiations are at an early stage, it is expected that a plan would be in place in about a month, sources in Congress said.
On Thursday, JMM acting chief Hemant Soren met Congress president Rahul Gandhi in Delhi. The meeting was preceded by another meeting between Rahul and JVM(P) leader Babulal Marandi.
“Leaders from the two regional parties have held meetings, which marks a positive beginning of the mahagathbandhan taking shape in Jharkhand for Lok Sabha polls. We will require time to sort out nitty-gritty, but we would come before the people soon,” said state Congress spokesperson Rajesh Thakur.
In March, Congress and JMM had come to an understanding that the former would lead the fight in Lok Sabha elections, while the latter would lead the alliance in Assembly polls. A section of the state Congress unit had, however, expressed apprehensions over the move.
However, sources in state Congress said their top leadership was clear to cement an alliance with other parties. “People within the party giving statements that created doubt about alliance were given a strong message to desist from it. Also, at that point, it was a new thing. Therefore, there was natural resistance. But, now there is no problem,” said a source.
As of now, there is an understanding that Congress would lay claim to around 50 per cent of Lok Sabha seats in the state, while JMM would claim the same percentage of seats in Assembly polls, due in late 2019. “We think it is alright for us to claim seven (out of 14 LS seats). If required, minor changes can be worked out,” said a Congress leader.
JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharjee said, “It would not be possible to reveal details, but we are actively moving towards forming a grand alliance.”
A JVM (P) spokesperson said, “Our party chief Babulal Marandi had gone to Delhi to talk to (Rahul) Gandhi on seat-sharing. We are taking this seriously. We feel JVM (P) deserves at least four seats. The issue is yet to be decided.”
BJP spokesperson Deen Dayal Barnwal said, “Regional parties going with Congress are virtually committing hara-kiri because Congress is a sinking ship.”