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Jharkhand polls: AJSU aims to occupy lead status


RANCHI: Erstwhile NDA ally, the Sudesh Mahto-led All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) is aiming to emerge as the lead group in the 81-seat Assembly and stand out as a party which can draw support, rather than playing the supporting role.

With a new slogan, ‘Abki Baar, Gaaon Ki Sarkar,’ which it claims has given it traction and fighting an unprecedented 53 seats-three times the 17 seats it had asked for from the BJP-AJSU leaders say, they are ready to set the agenda for Jharkhand.

“We have had the best strike rate of candidates fielded and won. We contested 8 seats and won 5 in 2014 polls, while in 2019 Lok Sabha, we contested just one and won it against odds. This time, it is for others to join us post polls,” said Deo Sharan Bhagat, spokesperson. However, BJP President Amit Shah said ‘AJSU is a natural ally and it would return to the fold post-polls. AJSU leaders are, however, looking for a bigger role in government and say they would not limit their choice of allies.

“The situation is different now. We can now decide on who to take support from,” Bhagat said. “We are fighting 53 seats, more than Opposition’s lead party JMM’s 45, and we’ll win more,” said senior AJSU leader Vinay Bharat.

Political experts, however, said there is a catch. “If BJP is claiming that AJSU is its natural ally, it is conveying its cadre should not vote AJSU. Similarly, if Congress says it has no reservations on AJSU, it would confuse the latter’s support base.

Fire breaks out in Jharkhand Assembly building   
A fire broke out at the Jharkhand Assembly building in Ranchi, Fire Brigade sources said on Thursday. The fire broke out on the third floor of the newly constructed Assembly building on Wednesday night, the sources said, adding that the fire brigade personnel brought the blaze under control within two and half hours. There was no report of any injury in the fire, they said. The exact cause of the fire is yet to be ascertained, a police officer said.