New Delhi, Dec 18: In fresh developments in Jharkhand that further muddies the political water, former Chief Minister of the state Hemant Soren on Wednesday launched a bitter and personal attack on leaders of the Bharatiya janata Party (BJP).
In what is seen as a direct attack on Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) Executive President Soren said that saffron-clad politicians "do not marry but rape women".
Addressing a poll rally in Pakur, Soren said: "I have heard that Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath has also been doing the rounds of Jharkhand. These are the people, BJP people, who often don't get married, but dressed in saffron, they rape duaghetrs and daughter-in-laws. Shall we vote for such people, who rape women."
Understandably, it sparked strong reactions from the BJP. While the BJP lodged a complaint with the state poll body, BJP's IT cell chief Amit Malviya tweeted: "Desperate from defeat, Hemant Soren finally played his last card... Congress and RJD are contesting Jharkhand elections in alliance with him."
While it sparks off a very strong debate as the leader Soren was insinuating at is also the head priest of Gorakhnath Math, on a macro level the BJP will very likely try to use the remark to its advantage in the last phase of polling as an attack on Hinduism. Either way, it only ensures the JMM and the BJP -- two biggest parties in the fray -- don't join hands for any post poll alliance.
With uncertainty looming large over the next government, as neither BJP is anywhere close to its claim of "Abki baar 65 paar" and the Congress-JMM-RJD alliance also tipped not to cross the 41-seat mark in the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly, two individuals -- a prominent industrialist and a sitting Rajya Sabha MP -- may hold the key as to who will form the next government in the mineral rich state.
According to state BJP leaders, the saffron party is likely to be restrained in the bracket of 32 to 36 seats with 42 being the cut-off mark.
In such a scenario, two players may come out as crucial -- Babulal Marandi and Sudesh Mahto. Marandi is the first Chief Minister of Jharkhand. His Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik), which stayed out of the NDA or the UPA, is expected to fetch somewhere between 9 and 11 seats.
On the other hand, Sudesh Mahto's All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), which split from the NDA just before the Assembly elections, had won 5 seats in the last Assembly polls and is expected to retain as much.
If neither the Congress-JMM-RJD alliance or the BJP get to the magic number of 42, the concerned industrialist is likely to step in to stitch an alliance. Sources said the industrialist is keen on Hemant Soren as the next Jharkhand Chief Minister.
A sitting Rajya Sabha MP, who holds huge power and influence among the whos who of Jharkhand power circle and is a close confidante of the industrialist, may be used to bring either Mahto or Marandi or both onboard, depending on the number of seats the Congress-JMM-RJD alliance manages to get.
Sudesh Mahto left the NDA on a very bitter note and Marandi, who had fought elections for the BJP earlier, is more comfortable to do business with the Congress and the JMM than with the BJP.
In fact, Marandi's JVM was in talks with the Congress-JMM-RJD alliance before the polls, but seat sharing talks failed as the JVM asked for more.
Speaking to IANS, more than one state BJP leader has confirmed that BJP's "65 par" is an unrealistic dream. They insist that the BJP won't even cross 40 seats and is likely to be restricted between 32 and 36.
While one Central leader insisted that the numbers could go up owing to the BJP faring better in the last two phases, he conceded that crossing the 38-seat mark will be a tough ask.
"We fared terribly in the second phase when 20 seats were up for grabs. We are likely to get 6 seats in that phase. Much of it is due to the anger against incumbent Chief Minister Raghubar Das, whose constituency also voted in the second phase," claimed a BJP insider.
Though an absolutely impractical proposition, but if at all BJP-JMM post poll alliance was in any one's mind, Soren's blistering and personal attack on "saffron clad" politicians on Wednesday wiped off that chance.
With a hung Assembly scenario looking increasingly possible, all eyes will be on the exit poll results for the industrialist and the MP to do their "job".