State BJP president
New Delhi, Dec. 28: The BJP is intent on contesting the pending Hatia by-election, regardless of whether ally JD(U) supports it or not.
State BJP president Dineshanand Goswami, who is in the capital to, among other things, read the party leadership’s mind on the bypoll, today said, “We will request our allies to support us. It is our traditional seat where we have a strong organisation that has done a lot of work. The development image of Mundaji will also help.”
Goswami was closeted with Arjun Munda and state in-charge Harendra Pratap Singh among others at the chief minister’s residence here last night. Speaking to mediapersons, Goswami said while the party had decided its strategy vis-ŕ-vis alliance, a candidate would only be chosen after the Election Commission (EC) declared the dates.
In the previous election, the Congress had won, but the victory was challenged by the BJP, which came second. Jharkhand High Court had ordered a recount, which threw up the same results last week. The results will now be submitted to the court. After its verdict, the EC will have to declare a bypoll, as the winner, Gopal Sharan Nath Shahdeo, died last year.
The JD(U) has already indicated that it would field a candidate.
Miffed at its loss in Mandu, where the BJP backed the JMM, the JD(U) may well play spoilsport in Hatia. A section of the Ajsu also wants the party to contest to claim its pound of flesh for supporting the ruling alliance in Kharsawan and Mandu.
The BJP is now calling a series of meetings, starting tomorrow, to gear up for the contest. “I am meeting the office-bearers of the seven mandals (the party is organised in Hatia Assembly constituency) and the district at 1pm tomorrow. Before that, all state office-bearers are meeting. In the first week of January, we will hold a mandal workers’ conventions,” he added.
The BJP will focus on price rise, corruption, unemployment, governance and development in its poll plank. Denying Subodh Kant Sahay any credit for the agitation of HEC oustees, Goswami claimed it was the state government’s pressure on the Centre that ended the eviction drive. HEC falls within the constituency.
Grapevine has it that Sahay is keen to field his brother Sunil Sahay, but may face opposition from his bete noire within the party, Pradeep Balmuchu — the state Congress president.
The JVM may field Ranchi deputy mayor Ajay Shadeo, who is also related to the late MLA. The BJP government’s emphasis on road building is aimed to challenge JVM’s appeal. “People will see that our roads are much better than those built by Babulal Marandi when he was the chief minister,” said Goswami.