Is Grand Alliance threat to BJP in Jharkhand real?

Ranchi, March 11: With the announcement of parliamentary election schedule, both the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and the opposition Grand Alliance are making claims and counter-claims of increasing their tally this time round.

Jharkahnd will go to polls on April 29, and May 6, 12 and 19.

In a bid to give a tough fight to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2019, the Congress, JMM, RJD and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) have formed the Grand Alliance.

The Grand Alliance said it hopes to repeat its 2004 performance, while the BJP-led NDA claimed it is confident of sweeping the Lok Sabha polls like 2014.

"We will perform better than 2014 Lok Sabha polls. Our performance will improve in Santhal Pargna region. We are hopeful of snatching even the JMM chief Shibu Soren's Dumka Lok Sabha seat," Deepak Prakash, state BJP General Secretary, told IANS.

He said: "Both state and Central governments have done lots of tribal-oriented work. Under the new leadership, our base has expanded among the tribal people."

The Santhal Pargana region has six districts in its fold. There are four Lok Sabha seats in Santhal Pargana and the BJP and the JMM had won two seats each in 2014.

Jharkhand has been a BJP bastion since 1991 Lok Sabha polls. In 1996, 1998 and 1999 BJP had won 12, 13 and 12 seats, respectively. In 2004, the BJP got a drubbing by the Grand Alliance.

In 2004, the Congress, JMM, CPI and the RJD had fought the Lok Sabha in alliance, and the Grand Alliance had won 13 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, leaving only Koderma seat for the BJP. The JMM, Congress, RJD and the CPI had won 5, 6, 2 and one seats, respectively.

In 2009, the BJP improved its tally as there was no alliance among the opposition parties. In 2009, the BJP won eight seats. The JMM and the Congress had won two and one seats, respectively. The rest three were won by Independents.

In 2014, the Congress, JMM and the RJD again came together but did not do well, while the BJP won 12 seats. In 2014, the Congress, JMM and the RJD had fought on nine, four and one seats, respectively, but only JMM managed to bag two.

As per seat the sharing formula for the polls, the Congress, JMM, JVM-P and the RJD will fight seven, four, two and one seats, respectively.

"We will repeat the 2004 Lok Sabha results. BJP will face complete rout in the state. The Grand Alliance will contest unitedly. The people of the state are fed up with the polices of both Narendra Modi and Raghubar Das governments," Supriyo Bhattacharya, JMM General Secretary, told IANS.

Asked about the 2014 alliance failure, he said: "In 2014, there was incumbency factor of 10 years of the UPA government, but this time Modi government's failure and our united alliance will change the scenario."

Echoing his view, state Congress spokesperson Kishore Sahdeo said: "This time it will be difficult for the BJP to even open account in the state."

The BJP for the first time is going to parliamentary polls in alliance with the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). The AJSU has been give one seat in the state. The AJSU has a presence among Mahto caste which has a sizable population in the state.

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