By Nityanand Shukla
Ranchi, Dec 2 (IANS) All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) President Sudesh Mahto has turned out to be the first choice of both ruling and opposition parties in the Jharkhand.
Both BJP and AJSU are fighting the 2019 Assembly polls separately but none of the party officials announced the divorce. BJP and AJSU had fought the 2014 polls together. BJP and AJSU had fought on 72 and eight seats respectively and won 37 and five seats, respectively.
AJSU wanted to play a bigger role in the government but its wings were clipped by BJP after ensuring induction of six legislators of Jharkahd Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P).
BJP gained majority alone with defection of the six of the eight JVM-P legislators.
AJSU president Sudesh Mahto had to stage demonstrations several times against his own ruling alliance in last five years. Sources close to Mahto say that the party president was never taken into confidence by Chief Minister Raghubar Das on key issues like formulating domicile policy, amending the land acts and other important issues.
The personal equation between Mahto and Raghubar Das was fraught during the last five years.
The AJSU president while discussing alliance issues had said “It is not only alliance but agenda of the poll is important. We want common agenda to fight the polls together so that we do not have to sit on demonstration against our own government.”
After deciding to fight the polls alone he is turning out to be first choice of both ruling BJP and opposition parties.
Poll surveys indicate that Jharkhand will witness a hung assembly and role of Sudesh Mahto will be important for government formation.
BJP President Amit Shah during his Jharkhand poll campaign had tried to lure AJSU by saying “AJSU will be part of government even if BJP gets a majority.”
AJSU has also turned out be destination of the disgruntled leaders of BJP and other parties. Two sitting BJP legislators Radha Krishna Kishore and Tala Marandi joined AJSU and got tickets to fight the polls. Kishore was chief whip of the BJP and Marandi was former BJP state president.
Former Congress state president Pradeep Balmuchu and former JMM legislator Akil Akhtar also joined AJSU. More than 20 leaders of different parties have joined the AJSU.
AJSU had fought on eight seats in 2014 and has fielded candidates on more than 22 seats in 2019.
“AJSU had played role of opposition despite remaining in government. Our slogan is that this time there will be government of the village. We have been raising the people’s voice and we are doing politics for people of the state,” said Mahto told IANS.
Asked whom he will support post-polls he said “These are hypothetical questions. We will do better than previous polls.”
AJSU had only one seat in 2000 Assembly polls and its number improved to 2 in 2005. In 2009, its tally improved to six and then five in 2014 polls. The poll surveys say AJSU will three to nine seats. Political experts feel AJSU will improve its numbers compared to 2014 polls and it will emerge as a kingmaker.
The AJSU President is well aware of the fact his party tally from six to 10 will give it the edge in government formation.