The BJP, meanwhile, said its course of action would be decided by the central leadership. BJP spokesperson Pradeep Sinha said, “We are in a wait and watch mode, and it depends on the central leadership now.”
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.
Before joining in Bhagalpur, Vikas Vaibhav was on central deputation in the National Investigation Agency. When IM operations chief Yasin Bhatkal was nabbed in Nepal and brought to Bihar by the intelligence agencies, it was Vaibhav who arrested him officially and interrogated him.
Leader of Opposition and JMM chief Hemant Soren said, “The five-phase elections show that everything is not right in Jharkhand.” Congress working president Rajesh Thakur said, “The EC sought our views, but it was a fruitless exercise as our request was not heeded. We had demanded election in one phase. It is clear that Left-wing extremism has not reduced in the state.”
The zero figure assumes significance when seen against the backdrop of 21 deaths in the state in the past three years due to mob violence over suspicion of animal slaughter, theft, child-lifting rumours, among others.
A scrutiny of district court records by The Indian Express found that at least 53 people booked on charges of cow slaughter, or intent to slaughter cows under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, in 16 cases have been acquitted since 2018.