Members of the Ranchi unit of the Congress at a meeting on Thursday to discuss the Hatia bypoll. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, May 10: The BJP is set to lock horns with Ajsu in the Hatia bypoll next month, as both parties today declared their nominees, signalling rifts between the coalition allies who were adversaries in the recent Rajya Sabha election.
While the BJP announced to field Ramjilal Sarda, the Ajsu named Naveen Kumar Jaiswal as its candidate.
Interestingly, both parties have sought each other’s support and are sure of winning.
Another important partner of the Arjun Munda government, the JMM, is also likely to take final decision on the Hatia bypoll in a day or two. The party’s central organisational secretary, Supriyo Bhattacharya, has already said that the JMM was keen on contesting the bypoll on June 12.
At the just concluded biennial election for two Rajya Sabha seats, the Ajsu had supported JMM candidate Sanjeev Kumar, causing the defeat of S.S. Ahluwalia of the BJP.
Both BJP and Ajsu, however, maintained that there was no immediate threat to the Munda government.
Ajsu chief and deputy chief minister Sudesh Mahto argued that his party never had any pre-poll alliance with the BJP. The Ajsu only supported BJP-led governments over the years, he added.
“Our party has a sizeable support base in the Hatia Assembly segment and our candidate (Jaiswal) has been serving the masses in the area for long. I am hopeful that our other ruling partners (read BJP) will ultimately support him during the bypoll,” Mahto told The Telegraph.
BJP state president Dineshanand Goswami, on the other hand, stressed that Hatia was a stronghold of the party, arguing that Sarda had lost in 2009 by a wafer-thin margin of 25 votes.
He opined that the electorate would now vote for the BJP candidate to teach the Congress a lesson. “Our coalition partners should understand that the Congress is now better known for patronising corrupt forces,” he said.
The Congress and JVM, too, are unlikely to support each other. Senior Congressmen are camping in New Delhi to finalise the name of their candidate while JVM chief Babulal Marandi had already announced earlier that his party would field its own candidate.