The Telegraph
Wednesday , June 11 , 2014
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Parties hit Assembly poll gear

Ranchi, June 10: Fired up by Assembly poll prospects, the motley cauldron of state politics has started simmering.

While BJP and JMM are facing a challenge to retain the mandate momentum generated during the Lok Sabha polls, Congress, Ajsu, JVM and RJD are busy cobbling numbers on traditional turf.

Amid widespread speculation that BJP veteran Arjun Munda may no longer be the party’s chief ministerial candidate this time with heavyweight Yashwant Sinha taking keen interest in home politics, the former CM left for a two-day Kharsawan tour on Tuesday. He is expected to attend a series of social gatherings to feel the people’s pulse in the run-up to Jharkhand’s new House.

“The parliamentary polls were fought on national issues, where the BJP had an upper hand because people across states wanted to get rid of the UPA. However, unless the BJP maintains that momentum, it may not find fresh challenges that are ahead easy. It is heartening to see that our mass campaigns against poor power supply and Yashwantji’s arrest in Hazaribagh are receiving positive response. But, these alone are not enough,” said Ayodhyanath Mishra, Munda’s political adviser.

The Assembly elections in Haryana, Maharashtra, Arunachal Pradesh and Jharkhand are all slated this year. While Haryana and Maharashtra are to go to polls in October, it is being perceived that the EC may order simultaneous exercises in Arunachal and Jharkhand. However, festivities like Diwali and Chhath may prompt it to conduct the state’s democracy test in December.

“Even if the elections are being held in December, we barely have five-six months in hand. We have called a party meeting on Thursday to discuss strategies. It is not the time to debate who will become the chief minister; our main challenge is to ensure that the BJP forms a stable government in the state,” Munda said before leaving for Kharsawan.

The JMM is thinking on the same lines too. “We will contest all the 81 Assembly seats and are focusing on segments where we bagged good number of votes. Booth committees are being revived,” said party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya.

Ajsu, on the other hand, has already launched its month-long postcard campaign to urge the Prime Minister to grant special status to Jharkhand. It has shuffled party chiefs in 12 districts. “A major restructuring of the organisation is on the anvil too,” said Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto.

Congress, as expected, is banking on the janta. State president Sukhdeo Bhagat has directed party representatives in the Hemant Soren cabinet to hold regular durbars. Animal husbandry minister Mannan Mallik will be the first to hold one on June 14 (Saturday).

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