Anxious moments: Pradeep Balmuchu and Sanjeev Kumar
Ranchi, April 11: Political parties working on new formulas and realignments for the Rajya Sabha repoll on May 3 could well be giving Congress and JMM candidates Pradeep Balmuchu and Sanjeev Kumar sleepless nights.
With the diktat of Jharkhand High Court as well as the Election Commission in mind, and the CBI investigations about to begin, parties are trying to thrash out a consensus to minimise the chances of horse-trading in the fresh elections.
Babulal Marandi-led JVM has already offered the Congress the chance to create a consensus around an apolitical candidate from the Opposition camp. “It is difficult to create a consensus around a political person, so it is better to send a person who has made some contribution to Jharkhand,” said JVM general secretary Pravin Singh, who also happened to be a nominee in the March 30 elections.
The party has even suggested the name of ace mountaineer Bachendri Pal and hockey player Savitri Purti, among others, for the Rajya Sabha seat.
The Congress, however, was not enthused. State Congress president Pradeep Balmuchu, who contested the Upper House elections, said the JVM should be liberal in its approach and wanted its estranged partner to support the Congress to stop the entry of the money bags in the elections.
Meanwhile, Congress Jharkhand in-charge Shakil Ahmed said the party was yet to get any proposal from the JVM. “We have not yet decided over the candidate for the Rajya Sabha repoll, but can always discuss the JVM proposal,” he told The Telegraph.
Ahmed, however, said the Congress had the support of 18 MLAs, including five from RJD. “So, we would like the JVM to extend support to the Congress nominee and not allow the second nominee of the ruling combine to get through,” he added.
JMM nominee Sanjeev Kumar, unsure whether he would be renominated, said it won’t be proper to pre-empt the party leadership’s decision on the candidate for the May 3 elections.
But he did predict a last minute scramble if the ruling partners decided to field two candidates.
Deputy chief minister Hemant Soren said both the Opposition and ruling camps should go for one candidate each and elect them without holding any election. He, however, said that the party had fielded its official candidate in the March 30 elections.
“The job was left half way. We will try to accomplish the task in the May 3 elections,” he added.
Incidentally, senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha stirred a hornet’s nest by suggesting that the ruling coalition should propose two official candidates instead of one.
But chief minister Arjun Munda is said to be in favour of supporting the JMM candidate in order to avoid any heartburn in the coalition. “It won’t be proper to field a second candidate and take recourse to unfair means to get additional votes and get the second candidate through. The ruling partners will also begin blackmailing the chief minister the day BJP fielded its candidate,” said a senior BJP leader, requesting anonymity.
The ruling coalition has 45 MLAs, including 18 each from BJP and JMM, five from Ajsu, two from JD (U) and two Independents.
As a candidate will need 27 votes to get elected, the coalition will need nine extra votes for the second nominee to reach the Upper House.
The BJP, which burnt its finger by supporting controversial NRI businessman Anshuman Mishra, is treading a cautious path this time.
A couple of days ago, BJP state president Dineshanand Goswami reconstituted the state election committee comprising 15 members, including Arjun Munda, Yashwant Sinha and Raghubar Das, among others, to take a consensus view.
Incidentally, the BJP state election committee held a meeting late in the evening today in order to democratically work out the party’s stand on the Rajya Sabha polls and also shortlist a party candidate, if any, and make a recommendation to the central leadership accordingly.