All Jharkhand Students Union to try its luck in Bengal polls
All Jharkhand Students Union (Ajsu) is the only Jharkhand-based political party that has entered the Bengal poll fray so far with its candidate filing nomination for the Baghmundi Assembly seat in Purulia district.
“Ashutosh Mahato, who filed his nomination papers yesterday (Tuesday), is our candidate there,” Ajsu spokesperson Deosharan Bhagat said here, adding that the BJP left the seat to Ajsu, its NDA partner.
Ajsu is likely to be the only political party from Jharkhand to try its luck in Bengal polls as the JMM did not field its candidates for the first phase of elections when most of the Jungle Mahal seats with formidable tribal concentration will go to polls.
The JMM was earlier eyeing seats in Jungle Mahal, including seven reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, spread over the districts of Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram and West Midnapur, claiming that the party had considerable influence over the tribal voters there.
“We’ll soon issue a statement clarifying our position,” JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said when asked if they had pulled out of Bengal polls.
Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren, when asked about the JMM fielding candidates in Bengal, told reporters in New Delhi on Sunday that Mamata Banerjee had called him to seek his support, indicating that his party was likely to pull out to consolidate anti-BJP votes.
“This is for the first time we are contesting this way,” Ajsu spokesperson Bhagat said about their contesting from the Baghmundi seat as an NDA constituent. The party had unsuccessfully contested from the seat earlier and its performance was very poor.
Though Jyotirmoy Singh Mahato of the BJP, in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, won the Purulia seat of which Baghmundi is a segment, the party’s candidate did not do well in Baghmundi in the 2016 Assembly polls.
Congress’s Nepal Mahato has been winning the seat since 2001 when it was known as Jhalda Assembly constituency and the TMC candidate finished second in 2016.
Besides, a section of BJP supporters did not like the fact that the party left the seat to Ajsu and two local leaders filed nomination papers as Independent candidates in protest.