BJP announces first list of 52 candidates for Jharkhand polls

Niladri Sekhar Dutta

New Delhi/Ranchi, Nov 10 (PTI) The BJP announced on Sunday its first list of 52 candidates for the assembly polls in Jharkhand where it seeks to retain power amid a determined bid by opposition parties, mainly the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, to oust the Raghubar Das-headed government.

BJP working president J P Nadda said the list mainly focuses on the first phase of the polls, but there are some candidates in it who would be contesting the elections in the other four phases.

Jharkhand will vote in five phases, with the first one on November 30 and the last on December 20. Results will be declared on December 23. The last date of filing nominations for the first phase of the elections is November 13.

BJP general secretary Arun Singh said Raghubar Das will contest from Jamshedpur (East), while the party's state unit president Lakshman Gilua, who lost to the Congress' Gita Koda from Singhbhum in the Lok Sabha elections, has been fielded from Chakradharpur.

Five of Das' cabinet colleagues -- state Urban Development Minister C P Singh, Labour Minister Raj Paliwal, Agriculture Minister Randheer Singh, Education Minister Neera Yadav and Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi -- feature in the first list.

Three MLAs of opposition parties, who recently joined the BJP, also found place in the list of candidates.

Manoj Yadav, who joined the BJP from the Congress, and Jaiprakash Bhai Patel and Kunal Sarangi, who crossed over from the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), have been fielded from Barhi, Mandu and Baharagora seats respectively.

Nadda claimed that the atmosphere in Jharkhand is in favour of the BJP and every section of the society is supporting Das.

'Jharkhand was previously known for the higher side of corruption and lower side of stability. Today, it is known for stability and development under the leadership of (Chief Minister) Raghubar Das. Corruption has been curbed,' he told a press conference.

In Ranchi, the BJP's state unit spokesperson Praveen Prabhakar said, 'We are confident that the BJP-led NDA will return to power with Raghubar Das at its head.' The Congress too announced five candidates on Sunday for the Jharkhand polls. These candidates are from the seats that will go to polls in the first phase. The party has fielded its state unit chief Rameshwar Oraon from Lohardaga.

The JMM, the Congress and Lalu Prasad Yadav's Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) had recently announced a pre-poll alliance in the state. Former chief minister and JMM working president Hemant Soren will be the alliance's chief ministerial face.

The Congress will contest 31 out of 81 seats in Jharkhand. The RJD will contest on seven seats, while the largest chunk of the alliance share has gone to the JMM, which will contest on 43 seats.

The BJP has claimed that it has provided a stable, clean and development-oriented government in Jharkhand, while the opposition alleged that the state's progress has stalled under its rule.

Raghubar Das is the first chief minister of Jharkhand to have completed the full term of five years. PTI SLB PVR NAB MM NSD