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BJP to back JMM candidates if it joins NDA

Jharkhand,Politics, Mon, 16 Apr 2012 IANS

Ranchi, April 16 (IANS) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has asked the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), its alliance partner in the Jharkhand government, to join the National Democratic Alliance, the BJP-led Opposition coalition in parliament, if it wanted support for its Rajya Sabha candidates, sources say.


The JMM is part of the United Progressive Alliance, the majority coalition in parliament.


"Our central leaders and party president will take the decision on such issues (getting JMM into NDA)," state BJP president Dineshanand Goswami told IANS.


The Rajya Sabha election, after being cancelled last month over apprehensions of vote-buying, has been rescheduled for May 3.


BJP MLAs had voted for JMM candidates on March 30 before the Election Commission cancelled the poll to the upper house of parliament.


The BJP and JMM have played friends as well as foes over the past three years. In April 2010, JMM chief Shibu Soren, while his party was ruling Jharkhand with the BJP's support, had voted in favour of the UPA in a motion moved by the NDA.


Feeling betrayed, the BJP withdrew its support to the JMM in the state. The government fell. Five months later, the BJP formed the new government, with the JMM's support.


Meanwhile, Opposition parties are fielding common candidates against the BJP-JMM combine. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) president Babulal Marandi has asked Congress president Sonia Gandhi to field a social worker or an academician for the Rajya Sabha poll.


"Talks are on with Opposition parties for their support. We may change the candidates, if needed," Congress' Shakeel Ahmad, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Jharkhand, said Saturday.


The five candidates for the March 30 election were Sanjiv Kumar (JMM), Pradeep Balmuchu (Congress), Praveen Kumar Singh (JVM-P) and R.K. Agarwal and Pawan Kumar Dhut (Independents).


On the polling day, police recovered Rs.2.15 crore from a car belonging to the brother of R.K. Agarwal near Ranchi.


The Election Commission then urged President Pratibha Patil to cancel the election notification for the two Rajya Sabha seats from the state, citing horse trading and use of money power to influence voters.


The elections are being held in Jharkhand to fill two Rajya Sabha seats which have fallen vacant after the retirement of Surendrajeet Singh Ahluwalia and Mabel Rebello.


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