New Delhi: Ahead of the assembly elections in Jharkhand later this year, the Janata Dal (United) or JDU, which is a key ally of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has decided to contest all the 81 seats alone in the state.
Although the regional party has always contested the Jharkhand elections alone and not in partnership with the BJP, the party is trying to increase its vote share to secure the status of a national party.
Senior leaders of the JDU said that the party has taken a conscious decision to bag national party status and for that it is needed to increase its vote share considerably by contesting elections in different states.
“The leadership of JDU under Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar is of the opinion that the time has come for the party to expand its voter base and become a national party. To get the status of a national party, a certain vote share is required by the Election Commission of India. Since JDU is an independent political party, it has every right to try an increase its voter base and national presence," said a senior leader of JDU in the know of the developments.
Members of the JDU also said that the party had won 6 seats after contesting 18 seats in the 2005 assembly polls but in the last state elections in 2014, it could not win a single seat in Jharkhand.
“JDU has always won a few seats in Jharkhand but 2014 was the first state elections when the party could not win a single seat even though it had contested 11 out of the 81 seats. The party leadership has been disappointed with the performance of the state unit in the previous assembly polls," said a senior JDU leader based in Patna.
JDU leaders also said that since the formation of Jharkhand in 2000, the JDU has always won some seats in the state assembly. While in 2005, the party had 6 seats, the number came down to 2 in the 2009 assembly elections when the party had contested 14 seats and zero in the 2014 assembly polls when party had contested 11 seats.
“The party leadership has realised that our numbers in the state assembly have been consistently declining. Even though we used to win only a few seats, but JDU had a political and electoral presence in Jharkhand, which has slowly diminished. The party leadership wants to revive itself in the state," the JDU leader added.