Jharkhand election: BJP's 'go alone' versus the rest's 'fight together'

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Jharkhand: Another BJP vs rest
The 81-seat strong Jharkhand assembly is set to go to five-phase polling beginning November 25. The state, which was carved out of Bihar in 2000, is perhaps the most unstable political unit of the Indian Union. It has seen change of chief ministers nine times in 14 years and imposition of the president's rule thrice. Will there be a change in the state's fortunes this time?

The answer will only be clear on December 23 when results of elections in Jharkhand and Jammu and Kashmir will be out. However, by the way the recent election results have shown, will the BJP ride the Narendra Modi wave in Jharkhand this winter and form a government of its own?

BJP's 'go alone' policy

Boosted by the series of electoral victories at the Centre and many states, the BJP led by the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah duo has decided to contest state elections alone with a long-term goal of emerging as a national alternative for the Congress. In the Lok Sabha election held in April and May, the BJP bagged 12 of the 14 parliamentary seats in Jharkhand (four more than that of 2009), proving how the Modi wave influenced its politics.

No infighting, Amit Shah has warned the state leaders

The BJP's top leadership will take confidence from its performance in the general election and try to take the state out of its perennial political instability. Party president Amit Shah has already warned the factional leaders not to wash their dirty linen in the public and focus on the election instead. He said the party should first try to win handsomely and then decide on the chief minister.

The non-BJP parties will look to repeat what Lalu & Nitish did in Bihar recently

The BJP is yet to decide on its chief minister in Maharashtra where it emerged as the single largest party with 122 seats in the recently concluded election.

Opposition has failed to corner the ruling coalition because of lack of unity

The funny part of Jharkhand politics is that the ruling coalition of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) now has only 37 seats together while the majority mark in the assembly is 41. This has happened because the opposition parties have not succeeded to come together to form an alliance despite the BJP alone having 18 seats in the assembly.

The secular-communal debate has left the BJP alone but it will be looking to the Modi wave to negate that factor and bag the remaining 23 seats required for majority in the assembly.

Both Congress, JMM eye alliance like that in Bihar but they have to answer some questions first

The Congress and the JMM are in favour of an alliance in the state on lines of Bihar where arch-rivals Lalu Prasad and Nitish Kumar joined hands to defeat the BJP in the bypolls. The Congress was also part of that alliance. The Congress is hopeful that parties like the JD(U) and RJD will also join it and the JMM to strengthen the alliance. But before the mega alliance shapes up, the Congress and the JMM will have to answer some questions before they lead the mission to stop the BJP in the state.

The two parties are already sharing a stressed relation over the sharing of seats and the JMM is of the opinion that the Congress is trying to face the poll challenge piggybacking the JMM.

The five-phase polling in Jharkhand will be between the promise of stability and the threat of chaos. For the first time perhaps, the people of Jharkhand have a qualitative difference in their poll option. We will have to watch which way they prefer.

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