After witnessing the no-so-convincing Assembly elections results in Haryana and Maharashtra, the upcoming polls in Jharkhand is yet another test for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The BJP is facing an embarrassing situation with the resignation of Saryu Rai, who was the food and supply minister in the Raghubar Das Cabinet till Sunday, and now reports are coming in that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar may campaign in his support.
The stand of Janata Dal-United (JDU) in Jharkhand assembly election may give sleepless nights to the BJP, which has fielded Chief Minister Raghubar Das from East Singhboom. Saryu Rai too has also filed nomination from the same seat as he was denied a ticket to fight the poll. Das has been winning the Jamshedpur East seat since 1995.
Known for playing an important role in busting the fodder scam against RJD supremo Lalu Prasad Yadav, Rai is known to have enjoyed friendly relation with Nitish Kumar, as they participated in the JP Movement in the 1970s.
Raghubar Das and Saryu Rai have never been on the best of terms in these five years, as the latter has often criticised his own government for some of its decisions. Rai has always carried an image of honesty and frankness even within the BJP, but after turning a rebel, he has been accusing the BJP leaders of corruption.
Although Rai is fighting as an independent candidate from the Jamshedpur East seat, he is now emerging as a rallying point to take on the ruling party.
The main opposition party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) working president Hemant Soren has reportedly hinted at making Saryu Rai`s case as an issue of honesty versus corruption against the BJP. Soren has also appealed to all the non-BJP parties to support Rai in the Jamshedpur East seat.
The Jharkhand poll is already being viewed as a test case for the BJP, and now JDU's new strategy could pose serious trouble to the party, whose performance in the upcoming election would have a direct bearing upon its relationship with its allies in other states as well.