BJP tries to salvage Jharkhand with Advani as star campaigner

March 30th, 2009 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ranchi, March 30 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) seems desperate to gain ground again in Jharkhand, which was once considered a party bastion, as senior party leaders are doing everything possible to woo voters.
While Sushma Swaraj has been made election in-charge, prime ministerial aspirant L.K. Advani has been addressing numerous rallies in the state.

National level BJP leaders are chalking out strategies to win the maximum number of seats and hold the party’s sway in the tribal-dominated state again.

Advani recently addressed three rallies in Dumka, Ranchi and Jamshedpur and he was scheduled to attend three at Dhanbad, Simdega and Lohardagga Monday.

In contrast, he is yet to launch the party’s election campaign in neighbouring Bihar.

“Our prime ministerial candidate is focusing on those Lok Sabha seats where the party can cross the border line and can win the election. Advani’s rallies have galvanised the party workers which will help us in booth management work,” a BJP leader told IANS.

Earlier this month, Advani held a party rally in the steel city of Jamshedpur and during his overnight stay discussed with party leaders the political scenario in the state.

According to party sources, he is likely to address more rallies in April in Jharkhand, which goes to polls April 16 and 23.

For the first time, BJP leaders have decided to go in for a seat-sharing deal with the Janata Dal-United (JD-U), going against the wishes of the party workers in the state.

The BJP conceded Palamau and Chatra Lok Sabha seats to the JD-U in exchange for its support in other constituencies. The JD-U, however, has little presence in the state.

The BJP lost its sway in the 2004 general elections and it managed to win only one of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state. The BJP lost that lone seat too after former chief minister and Lok Sabha MP from Koderma, Baulal Marandi, quit the party in 2006.

The BJP also lost the three Lok Sabha byelections that took place in 2006 and 2007.

After the defeat, the BJP does not want to take any more chances. The party had a good presence in the state and it swept four successive Lok Sabha elections in 1991, 1996, 1998 and 1999. In 1999,it had won 11 of the 14 seats in Jharkhand.

For the BJP, Jharkhand comes under the A category states where it hopes to win the maximum number of seats. According to party sources, an internal survey by the BJP says that the party would get between seven and nine seats in the ensuing Lok Saba polls.

About the BJP’s prospect in Jharkhand this time around, state BJP president Raghubar Das said: “After evaluating all the aspects, we have come to the conclusion that the party would again sweep the Lok Sabha elections.”

The key BJP candidates from Jharkhand are Yashwant Sinha, Karia Munda and Arjun Munda.

The BJP has raised both national and local issues in their poll campaign. Besides focussing on the worsening law and order situation, it is also blaming the Congress and Governor Syed Sibte Razi for the present scenario in the state.

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