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BJP stands by alliance with Dal

Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Dec. 3: The message from the top came loud and clear: stop bickering with your ally and instead work in tandem to hold on to power.

The BJP core committee today resolved that it would fight the Jharkhand Assembly election, scheduled for early next year, in alliance with the Janata Dal (United), with which the party has been locked in a running feud since the Lok Sabha debacle in May.

The issue of seat-sharing will be decided later.

The core committee meeting, presided by BJP president L.K. Advani, was held in Delhi this evening to work out strategies for the Assembly poll. Senior leaders associated with party affairs in Jharkhand, including general secretary Rajnath Singh, chief minister Arjun Munda, vice-president Babulal Marandi, state president Raghubar Das and organisation secretary Hridaynath Singh, were present.

Advani pointed out that if the party could 'successfully' organise mass rallies in Jharkhand and host a national executive meeting, there was no reason why it could not prove its point at the hustings. But, for that, he stressed, certain precautions need to be taken, the most important being air-tight alliances with the JD(U) and other NDA partners. 'Advani was impressed by the turnout at the recent BJP rally in Ranchi. He wanted to know from the state leaders why it was not able to transform the large following of the party into votes,' said a leader who attended the meeting.

The high command's message: work in unison with the NDA allies, never mind the differences. 'Internal bickering in the state unit of the JD(U) was not discussed at our meeting. We have decided in principle to forge alliances with the JD(U) during the elections. Seat-sharing will be decided later,' Hridaynath Singh said over telephone.

Raghubar Das added that seat adjustments would be finalised on the basis of ground realities. For this, he will soon be holding talks with the state JD(U) chief. Das, however, remained tight-lipped when pointed out that Inder Singh Namdhari has already tendered his resignation and it was unlikely that the leadership crisis in the JD(U) would be resolved soon.

Advani directed the state leaders to ensure that there was no 'misunderstanding' with its ally in distribution of seats. In the Lok Sabha poll, the two parties contested as many as five of the 14 seats separately.

The BJP president also asked for the immediate formation of different committees related to the state polls so that work could be divided. 'Panels for selection of candidates, booth management and preparation of the election manifesto have to be formed as soon as possible so that all election-related exercises take place smoothly,' Advani is understood to have said.

BJP sources said Advani stressed that the issue of tainted ministers in the United Progressive Alliance regime at the Centre should be made a major campaign issue. 'We feel that he was hinting at JMM chief Shibu Soren, who is eyeing the post of chief minister. Advaniji felt that the electorate must be informed of the dangerous fallout if Soren becomes chief minister of Jharkhand,' the sources said.

Advani stressed on party unity and better poll management. He advised that the booth level committees should be formed at the earliest.

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