Jamshedpur: Faced with a tricky situation, the BJP, which is contesting on its own, is window-shopping in Jharkhand. Indications are that it is “open to the idea of tying up” with the All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) in a post-poll scenario. Though the AJSU is part of the NDA, it is contesting on its own. The BJP top brass is also in touch with former partyman turned JVM (P) supremo Babulal Marandi for a post-poll tie-up.
While the BJP is fighting a tough battle in this tribe-dominated, Maoist-ridden state, it could get tougher for Chief Minister Raghubar Das in his home turf, East Jamshedpur. He faces former cabinet colleague Saryu Roy. Roy, who had quit the cabinet after he was denied the ticket from Jamshedpur West, filed nomination papers on November 18 here as an independent.
As one approaches Bistupur in the CM’s constituency, the first things you see are posters of the two leaders plastered all over. At some places, posters face each other. All eyes are on this face-off. Roy has “plenty of sympathisers within the party” who could work covertly to dent the CM’s prospects. Some in the BJP are also worried by anti-incumbency.
The first CM to complete a five-year term in this politically turbulent state, he spoke to this newspaper and sounded confident of retaining power. Das, a non-tribal CM, rejected the Opposition campaign of “tribal vs non-tribal” against him.
“This is rubbish,” he said. “A tribal wants development as much as a non-tribal. The Opposit-ion has no issue against this government so they are trying to sway sentiment by dividing Jharkhandis into tribal and non-tribal for political gain.”
“Guruji had played this tribal card and realised that such polarisation does not work,” he added. Asked about the chance of joining hands with AJSU, the CM said, “all options were open.” The BJP never considered any political outfit “untouchable.” “In politics, there should always be an alternative,” he said.
The signal was somewhat clear: the “confident” CM may not be confident about forming a government on his own. Then, quickly putting on his “confident” face, he claimed that of the 82 Assembly seats, “we are achieving our target of 65 plus.” On Saryu Roy, the CM only said: ”Everyone has a right to contest.”...