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Failure to stitch alliance with AJSU costs BJP dear

During alliance talks, AJSU was initially adamant on contesting 17 seats in alliance with BJP but later it climbed down to 14. However, BJP refused to budge and decided to go it alone. If they had been in alliance, they would have easily won at least nine more seats.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 24, 2019, 08.15 AM IST
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Chattisgrah-BJP
AJSU put up candidates in 53 assembly constituencies. This led to the division of Kurmi votes which, in turn, helped the opposition alliance.
NEW DELHI: The parting of the ways between BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) just before the assembly elections has cost them dear. The partners of 19 years — BJP and AJSU had been allies since the state was carved out in 2000 — couldn’t reach a seat-sharing understanding in the run-up to the polls. If they had been in alliance, they would have easily won at least nine more seats — Madhupur, Ramgarh, Dumri, Ghatsila, Jugsalai, Ichagarh, Chakradharpur, Khijri and Lohardaga.

During alliance talks, AJSU was initially adamant on contesting 17 seats in alliance with BJP but later it climbed down to 14. However, BJP refused to budge and decided to go it alone. AJSU put up candidates in 53 assembly constituencies. This led to the division of Kurmi votes which, in turn, helped the opposition alliance.

BJP lost Ranchi district’s Khijri seat, which it had won by a margin of 65,000 in 2014, to JMM by 11,000 votes. The X factor on the seat was AJSU candidate Ramdhan Bediya receiving 28,777 votes, more than enough to defeat the BJP candidate.

Ichagarh, another Ranchi seat, was won by BJP’s Sadhu Charan Mahto by over 42,000 votes in 2014. But this time, AJSU’s Hare Lal Mahto successfully divided the Kurmi electorate, leading to Mahto’s loss to JMM’s Sabita Mahto by 7,000 votes. Hare Lal Mahto has got 30,199 votes. BJP’s Jharkhand unit president Laxman Gilwa could have won Chakradharpur seat but again AJSU was the spoiler. Gilwa lost to JMM’s Sukhram Oraon by around 13,000 votes, while AJSU’s Ramlal Munda received 16,677 votes.

Lohardaga, the seat on which BJP and AJSU couldn’t reach an understanding and which was one of the reasons for the breakup, remained a Congress bastion this time too. In 2014, Congress’ Sukhdeo Bhagat had won this seat, with AJSU coming second. Since Bhagat joined BJP and AJSU fielded a candidate against him, the seat was once again won by Congress candidate — state unit chief Dineshwar Oraon. Bhagat lost the seat by around 30,000 votes, while AJSU’s Neeru Bhagat received 39,151 votes.

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