After the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress alliance in Jharkhand seemed to be heading towards a clear majority on Monday and the BJP falling short, a slew of Opposition leaders congratulated JMM chief Hemant Soren and blamed the BJP's impending defeat on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and National Register of Citizens.
Opposition leaders — from West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and NCP and Shiv Sena party leaders and their spokespersons in Maharashtra — linked the outcome to the ongoing protests over the CAA and NRC and said an "arrogant" BJP had been demolished by the public.
Banerjee said people have faith that Soren would fulfil their aspirations and extended good wishes to the "brothers and sisters" of the neighbouring state for voting in favour of the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance. She also stated that since the elections were held amid protests over the amended citizenship law and proposed countrywide NRC, the verdict is in favour of citizens.
Congratulations @HemantSorenJMM ji, @RJDforIndia, @INCJharkhand on winning. People of Jharkhand have entrusted U to fulfill their aspirations. My good wishes to all brothers/sisters in Jharkhand. Elections were held during #CAA_NRC_Protest. This is a verdict in favour of citizens
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) December 23, 2019
Kejriwal said the results appeared to be a verdict against the NRC and CAA and reflects the public reaction to the "arrogance" of the BJP visible across the country. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo said BJP leaders had "aggressively" campaigned in the last two phases of the Jharkhand Assembly polls, raising the issues related to the CAA and NRC.
"So, it appears that the people of at least one state have conclusively given their verdict that they do not want it (CAA and NRC)," he said at a press conference.
Kejriwal also alleged that the result reflected the public's reaction to the "arrogance" of the BJP visible across the country. He congratulated Soren for the poll victory and said the BJP's electoral loss meant that its government did not perform well in Jharkhand.
"People want to vote for performance, apparently they (BJP government) did not work," Kejriwal said.
'BJP not unbeatable'
Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram said the BJP is not unbeatable and urged Opposition parties to join forces against the ruling saffron party. Chidambaram, after taking part in a DMK-led rally against the Citizenship Amendment Act in Chennai, said his party was happy about the electoral outcome in Jharkhand.
"We are very happy and we congratulate and thank the people of Jharkhand for giving the JMM-Congress alliance an overwhelming mandate," he told reporters at the Tamil Nadu Congress Committee headquarters.
The Congress-JMM alliance has been given a "resounding victory and we are very very happy," he said.
"The BJP is not unbeatable. If all Opposition parties rally together and understand the dangers faced by the country and come together; surely the BJP can be defeated and the BJP will be defeated in future elections also," he said.
The BJP in the past about three months saw its electoral fortunes decline in Haryana, could not retain power in Maharashtra and now squarely defeated in Jharkhand, he said. He also tweeted:
Dented in Haryana, Denied in Maharashtra, Defeated in Jharkhand. That is the story of the BJP in 2019. All non-BJP parties must raise their sights and rally around the Congress to save the Constitution of India. — P. Chidambaram (@PChidambaram_IN) December 23, 2019
The NCP on Monday said people of Jharkhand have demolished the "arrogance" of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the saffron party president Amit Shah. The Shiv Sena also hit out at the BJP, with which it recently severed ties with the party at the Centre and in Maharashtra, saying the Jharkhand Assembly poll trends show people are not buying the Amit Shah-led party's politics based on sentimental issues like the National Register of Citizens.
It also said that the BJP needs to introspect on its performance in Jharkhand after Maharashtra. "The people of Jharkhand have demolished the arrogance of Modiji, Amit Shah and BJP. Democracy has won," NCP chief spokesperson Nawab Malik tweeted.
NCP legislative party leader Jayant Patil took to Twitter to congratulate the people of Jharkhand:
Congratulations to the people of Jharkhand !
I'm sure now onwards this victory of secular forces would continue in the remaining parts of the country ! #JharkhandResults
— Jayant Patil (@Jayant_R_Patil) December 23, 2019
Shiv Sena spokesperson Manisha Kayande said as the BJP looks set to lose Jharkhand after failing to retain power in Maharashtra, it raises the question whether or not people trust the Amit Shah-led party.
"They (BJP) earlier told people they will play politics of development but are now engaging people in sentimental issues to distract their attention from the real issues... They seem to have been hit by raising issues like the NRC," Kayande said.
Shiv Sena's Rajya Sabha member Sanjay Raut also hit out at the BJP, saying tribals and the poor people of Jharkhand have rejected the Shah-led party.
Talking to reporters, he said Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah worked vigorously in Jharkhand to win the (Assembly) election in that state.
"Speeches were delivered saying the Citizenship Amendment Act will help Jharkhand. Still, the poor and Adivasis of Jharkhand have rejected the BJP. The figures show the Congress and JMM will form the government there," Raut said.
"I think there is a need (for the BJP) to introspect why they have lost Jharkhand after Maharashtra," he added.
'It's my defeat'
Conceding defeat in the Assembly polls, Chief Minister Raghubar Das said it was his defeat, not of the BJP. As per the latest trends available on the Election Commission website, Das was trailing BJP rebel candidate and former minister Saryu Roy by over 15,000 votes in Jamshedpur East Assembly constituency. "It is not BJP's defeat, it is my defeat," Das told reporters at a press conference.
The BJP contested 79 seats, supported an Independent candidate in one constituency and did not put up nominee against AJSU party president Sudesh Mahto.
Modi on Monday congratulated Soren on his likely victory and extended his best wishes to the combine. In his tweets after the BJP was set to lose power in the state, Modi said his party would continue serving it and raising people-centric issues.
"Congratulations to Hemant Soren and the JMM-led alliance for the victory in the Jharkhand polls. Best wishes to them in serving the state," the prime minister said.
He also thanked the people of Jharkhand for having given the BJP an opportunity to serve the state for many years and also applauded party workers for their efforts.
Shah said his party respects the mandate of Jharkhand voters and expressed his gratitude to the people of Jharkhand for giving the BJP a chance to govern the state for five years. He asserted that his party remains committed to its development and lauded BJP workers for their "untiring" efforts in the Assembly polls.
With inputs from PTI
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Updated Date: Dec 23, 2019 20:54:40 IST