Ranchi: The news of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) getting into an alliance with All Jharkhand Student Union (AJSU) for 14-Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand did not surprise many. As AJSU is in National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and both parties had fought together during 2014 assembly polls. But BJP leaving Giridih Lok Sabha seat for AJSU has shocked everyone, from BJP leaders to political pundits.
In doing so, BJP has left a seat at a place, where the party has not lost in the past 30 years last in Lok Sabha polls (except two for time – in 1991 and 2004, when Jharkhand Mukhti Morcha (JMM) had won).
And most significantly, the sitting Member of Parliament (MP), Ravindra Pandey who has been denied ticket from Giridih has won five times.
Also it’s not only about Pandey, but Giridih is one of the few seats in Jharkhand, where all the electoral heads – MP, MLA, Mayor and Deputy Mayor belongs to the BJP.
While some are saying that AJSU is not a strong party base in Giridih to win a Lok Sabha seat. It is not easy also for BJP that it votes can be transferred to AJSU candidate. The latest example is AJSU president Sudesh Mahto loosing from its traditional seat- Silli, despite BJP’s alliance in 2018’s bypoll. In most cases, a ruling party or its alliance win in bypoll, but here Raghubar Das led BJP government rule could not change fate of AJSU chief who has been voted out twice between 2014 and 2018.
AJSU has five MLAs in Jharkhand assembly.
The first reaction of Giridih MP was also not to believe the news, “Where you have heard that Giridih seat has been given to AJSU. The parliamentary panel has only decided to get into an alliance with AJSU and give them one seat, but it is yet to decide on the seat,” he reacted while talking to eNewsroom.
When asked if anybody from party had contacted him, the reply from the five times MP was a big no.
Later, Pandey told other media organizations that he had not been contacted by the party before such a major decision, “It seems BJP is a big party now and where a five time MP had no importance to be contacted before such decisions.”
Significantly, the adjacent Lok Sabha constituency’s BJP MP, Ravindra Rai too, expressed shock which has been reported in newspapers, in regards to the decision of giving Giridih seat to AJSU. He has termed the decision as being suicidal for the party.
Rai’s statement is important, as he has been Jharkhand’s state president for BJP, and under his leadership, BJP had fought Lok Sabha polls in 2014 and won 12 out of 14 seats.
“As it was being believed that because of poor performance, Ravindra Pandey would not be getting the ticket this time. But by changing the candidate, BJP can win the seat. However, it seems, like BJP was under pressure from AJSU for the Giridih seat, which they have grabbed,” said Amit Raja, senior journalist while talking to eNewsroom.
While another senior journalist, Kamal Nayan said, “In the last two days, I met many BJP workers, and found that there is a bit resentment among them, they are not happy with the party’s decision. However, they may not hit the streets to protest against the decision, but they will express this anger while casting their vote.”
Survey conducted by many television news channels telecasted on the eve of poll date announcement, has confirmed the fear of the BJP being turned into reality, with the NDA being limited to three seats in Jharkhand.
Political observers believe that BJP’s decision to not contest from Giridih seat will have a direct impact on at least three other seats – Koderma, Dhanbad and Godda.