Ranchi, May 30: Concerned over the poor voter turnout during yesterday’s panchayat bypolls in the state and the JMM’s decision not to back any candidate for the Hatia by-election, the BJP today directed workers to ensure a high turnout on June 12, while at the same time appealing to JMM to reconsider its decision and support the BJP in the larger interest of the coalition.
“The turnout was poor at most places yesterday apparently because of the heat. At our election steering committee meeting held this morning we categorically asked poll managers to ensure that maximum possible voters reached their respective polling stations as soon as voting begins,” BJP state president Dineshanand Goswami told The Telegraph.
The BJP directed workers to adequately publicise the achievements of the Arjun Munda government. The problems likely to confront party workers deputed at booths on polling day also figured in the discussions.
The result of the Hatia by-election is crucial as it is expected to have a bearing on Jharkhand politics. Three of the ruling partners — BJP, Ajsu and JD(U) — have candidates in the fray while the JMM has decided not to support anyone.
While the BJP has fielded Ramji Lal Sarda, Ajsu has pitched in Navin Jaiswal, while Kailash Yadav is the JD(U) candidate. All the parties had approached JMM for support and even reminded that they had supported the JMM candidate during Mandu by-election. Ajsu had also stressed that it recently helped the JMM candidate win a Rajya Sabha seat. But, the JMM core committee last evening decided not to support anyone.
The BJP and JD(U), who have struck pre-poll alliances all over the country for over a decade, decided to field individual candidates, revealing a strain in relations in Jharkhand. “I earnestly request all ruling partners to reconsider their decision to fight each other and whole-heartedly support the BJP candidate. Hatia has been a traditional BJP stronghold and friendly fights among ruling partners will send out wrong signals,” pleaded Goswami.
However, his appeal failed to evoke the desired response. Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto refused to comment on the JMM’s decision, but said he was confident of success. He also campaigned for Jaiswal in the evening.
“We never had pre-poll alliances with anyone. At times, our MLAs only supported the coalition governments led by BJP or JMM. People have realised that only the Ajsu can lead Jharkhand in the right direction,” he added.