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JVM's Pradeep Yadav won't let Congress have Godda

Current formula for sharing Jharkhand's 14 Lok Sabha seats could test Opposition unity

By Vijay Deo Jha in Ranchi
  • Published 11.02.19, 2:13 AM
  • Updated 11.02.19, 9:29 AM
  • a min read
JVM’s Godda MLA Pradeep Yadav Telegraph picture

The Congress seat-sharing maths for parliamentary polls may prove fatal for JVM unity, as the party’s firebrand MLA Pradeep Yadav is adamant about contesting the Godda seat, which the Congress is refusing to give up.

An angry Yadav, who’s Godda MLA, told this paper over phone he was no more bothered about the Opposition alliance. “We fought against forcible land acquisition for the Adani power project. For leading the protest, I was arrested and jailed. Godda is simmering against the BJP and there is a strong JVM wave. The Congress, leading the seat-share exercise, ignored our claim on Godda. I am no more bothered about the alliance. Come what may, I will contest from Godda,” he said.

Out of Jharkhand’s 14 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress will contest seven, the JMM four, the JVM two and the RJD one seat. In 2014, Yadav contested Lok Sabha polls from Godda but came third, after BJP’s Nishikant Dubey and Congress’ Furqan Ansari. Yadav’s land protest makes him arguably a stronger contender today than Ansari.

But Yadav’s stance has got JMM chief Hemant Soren worried. Hemant on Sunday called on Marandi and asked the latter to persuade Yadav to relent in the larger interest.

A JVM insider said Marandi’s position was difficult. Marandi, whose 2014 poll debacles have reduced his clout, can’t afford to lose Yadav, a strong fundraiser with an army of loyalists. “JVM got Koderma and Palamau. Koderma is Babulalji’s turf. We are not interested in Palamau, the RJD is. We want Godda because we can win it. Babulalji has even offered to vacate Koderma for Ansari (Congress) in order to get Godda,” the aide said.

State Congress chief Ajoy Kumar downplayed the crisis. “There is no confusion. Our state party in-charge RPN Singh will soon hold talks with Marandiji,” said Kumar.

But a Congress insider said Godda was tricky. “Our candidate (Ansari) says if he does not get a ticket, it will send a wrong signal to minorities. Yadav is also adamant. Let’s see who blinks first.”

Yadav is not alone in questioning the wisdom of Congress seat-sharing, state RJD chief Annapurna Devi also is. “Congress has created chaos. We want Palamau but got Chatra. Similarly, the JVM doesn’t want Palamau,” she said.