Political compulsions throwing up surprises in Jharkhand

Last Updated: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 20:31

New Delhi: Politics makes strange bedfellows and it does so all the more in Jharkhand where nothing surprises as over the years the state has been throwing up strange permutations and combinations.

As Lok Sabha elections inch closer, the spectacle of unpredictable politics is at full play in the tribal state.

Convicted former chief minister Madhu Koda`s wife Geeta Koda is all set to join Congress in Ranchi on December 28, the foundation Day of Congress as the ruling party at the Centre seems to have shed its inhibitions about siding with "tainted" Koda apparently due to political compulsions ahead of next Lok Sabha polls in which BJP is posing a tough challenge.

Former BJP chief minister and JVM (P) leader Babulal Marandi, who had fought the last assembly poll in Jharkhand in alliance with Congress has stitched up an alliance with with JD(U) for the next general elections.

Congress, which has for long been maintaining distance with Lalu Prasad`s RJD in Bihar is already participating in an alliance government in Jharkhand with JMM and RJD and there are clear indications that the three parties will contest the next Lok Sabha polls together with Congress contesting on nine Lok Sabha seats, JMM on four and RJD one.

Out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, Congress currently has only one member Subodh Kant Sahay from Ranchi. JMM has two members. They fought the last general elections separately.

In 2004 Lok Sabha polls, when both the parties had fought in alliance, Congress had won six and JMM four seats. RJD and CPI were also in the alliance and they had got two and one seat respectively bringing 12 seats in UPA I kitty then.
Congress hopes to repeat the magic this time as well.

JVM (P), which had forged an alliance with Congress for the 2009 Assembly polls, parted ways with it in April last year over the FDI issue, a separation, which also worked towards Congress-JMM coming together.

Independent MLAs Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda are also
bracing up to join Congress but a final call has not been taken.

In the 82-member Jharkhand Assembly, JMM has 18 members, Congress 13 and RJD 05.

JVM(P) has two MPs and 11 MLAs in the state assembly.

As per the agreement between Congress and JMM in July that paved the way for Shibu Soren`s son Hemant Soren getting the Chief Ministership, the two parties will fight Lok Sabha elections together in Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

Congress was to get 10 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state and JMM 04. The one seat that will now go to RJD will be from Congress quota.

Sources say that the decision for the induction of Geeta Koda, wife of the incarcerated Madhu Koda, whom the Congress was till some time back wary of touching even from a barge pole, has been finalised at the highest level in the party.

Madhu Koda was jailed in a corruption case and for long the Congress had avoided a tie-up even with the JMM as the leadership was wary of its earlier experience of propping up Madhu Koda government in the state.

While Koda is now an independent MP from Chaibasa Lok Sabha seat, his wife is an MLA from Jagannathpur assembly seat in West Singhbhum district.

RJD with its five MLAs have pockets of support in districts like Koderma, Chatra, Palamau, Godda and Deoghar districts and the argument that goes in favour of Congress aligning with Lalu Prasad`s party is here is consolidation of secular votes.

However, the JD(U)-JVM (P) alliance, which was finalised yesterday in Delhi can put cold waters on this grand plan as like the RJD, the JD (U), too has pockets of influence in the region.

JD (U), which currently has two MLAs had been a traditional ally of the BJP in Jharkhand but things changed after the socialist party broke its 17-years-old ties with BJP in June this year opposing Narendra Modi`s elevation.

PTI
First Published: Wednesday, December 25, 2013 - 20:31
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