JD(U) to go it alone in Jharkhand Assembly polls

The Janata Dal (United), an NDA ally headed by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, on Sunday announced that it would go it alone in the upcoming Assembly elections in neighbouring Jharkhand that has a BJP-led government. The JD(U) will also try to emerge as a political alternative in the current situation plagued by mob lynching, corruption, and rapes in that state, the partys Jharkhand unit chief Salkhan Murmu said. Reacting to this, the Jharkhand unit of the BJP said the party expects that the JD(U) would side with it on development plank. We are looking forward to contesting as many seats as possible (in Jharkhand), depending on the number of winnable candidates we get. We are not averse to contesting all the 81 seats if we get as many good candidates, Murmu told PTI here. Murmu made the announcement here a day after he held deliberations with Kumar and the partys national vice president and poll strategist Prashant Kishor. Also read| The JD(U) had announced on June 9 that it will not be a part of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) outside Bihar and will contest the upcoming Assembly polls in four states on its own. The party took the decision in its national executive meeting to attain the status of a national recognised party by 2020. The JD(U) has emerged as the second largest party in the assembly polls held in BJP-ruled Arunachal Pradesh. It has also made inroads in Nagaland. In the past, the JD(U) had also contested some assembly seats in the BJP stronghold states like Gujarat and Karnataka. Making it clear that the JD(U) will not have any tie- up with the BJP in Jharkhand, notwithstanding the alliance between the two parties in Bihar, Murmu said the party was planning to launch a campaign on August 9 against incidents of mob lynching, corruption and rape in Jharkhand. The World Tribal Day is observed on August 9. With the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha in doldrums in Jharkhand, there is a scope for an alternative to emerge. We think we can be that alternative, said Murmu who had joined the JD(U) ahead of the Lok Sabha polls quitting the Jharkhand Disom Party founded by himself. BJPs Jharkhand unit spokesman Pratul Shahdeo said, Development is a bigger plank. Nitish Kumar is the vikas purush of Bihar and (Chief Minister) Raghubar Das is the vikas purush of Jharkhand, Till the end, we will request the JD(U) to side with us on development plank and we expect it, he said. The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party and the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) are BJPs allies in Jharkhand. The JD(U) had fielded no candidate in the tribal-dominated state in the recent Lok Sabha polls. In Bihar, the two parties fought as alliance partners along with the LJP and the coalition made almost a clean sweep winning 39 out of the 40 Lok Sabha seats in the state.