The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-RJD "grand alliance" has won a clear majority in the Jharkhand Assembly election, the results for which were declared on Monday.
This comes as yet another disappointment for the BJP this year, which was hoping to retain power in the state and which earlier saw Maharashtra slip out of its hands.
Elections to the 81 Assembly constituencies were held in five phases between 30 November and 20 December. Counting of votes was held on 23 December. Hemant Soren, the chief ministerial candidate of the Opposition alliance on Monday said the people of Jharkhand have given a clear majority to the JMM-Congress-RJD combine.
Soren, who has been projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the alliance, said all the opposition partners will meet to "strategise the future course of action".
He thanked Congress leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, RJD supremo Lalu Prasad and his father and JMM president Shibu Soren.
He also thanked the people of all sections and the media.
"The people of Jharkhand have given a clear majority to the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance. A new chapter begins, which will prove a milestone," Soren, who is the working president of JMM, told a press conference soon after trends showed a clear majority to the opposition alliance.
Thank you @MamataOfficial Didi for your wishes. This has been a battle to establish democratic will & socially inclusive Jharkhand. I dedicate this victory to the people of Jharkhand. https://t.co/KoGpH1JPHz
— Hemant Soren (@HemantSorenJMM) December 23, 2019
Overall, the Opposition Grand Alliance won 47 seats with JMM, which contested in 43 of the total 81 seats, winning 30 seats and emerging as the single-largest party in the state. The Congress won 16 seats while the RJD won one seat.
Soren won both the Barhait and the Dumka seats. He won Barhait with a margin of over 25,740 votes whereas, in Dumka, his victory margin was 13,188, where he defeated BJP Leader and Women, Child and Development minister Dr Lois Marandi.
The BJP, on the other hand, registered win in 25 seats. Among other parties, Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) won three seats, while the Nationalist Congress Party won one seat.
Vinod Kumar Singh was the lone Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) Liberation candidate to register a win in the Jharkhand Assembly election. He won the Bagodar seat by defeating sitting MLA Nagendra Mahto by 14,545 votes. Mahto had won the seat by 4,339 votes.
Among the Independent candidates, Amit Kumar Yadav won the Barkatha Assembly constituency while BJP rebel leader Saryu Roy won the Jamshedpur East constituency by defeating outgoing chief minister Raghubar Das by 15,833 votes.
Other top BJP leaders who lost the election were BJP's Jamshedpur West candidate Devendra Nath Singh, Jharkhand Legislative Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon, Sunit Choudhary from Ramgarh seat, among others.
While outgoing cabinet's rural development minister Nilkantha Singh retained the Khunti seat and that too comfortably with a winning margin of 26,327, ex-minister of urban development, housing, registration and disaster management Chandreshwar Prasad Singh faced tough competition from JMM's Mahua Maji with the vote margin between the two being just 5,904 votes.
Conceding loss in the Assembly polls, Das on Monday said it was his defeat, not of the BJP.
The BJP had contested 79 seats, supported an Independent candidate in one constituency and did not put up nominee against AJSU Party president Sudesh Mahto.
In 2014, the BJP rose to power after winning 37 seats, while its ally AJSU had won five seats. The combined tally was enough for the NDA to cross the majority mark of 41 seats. AJSU, which contested the election on its own after the allies failed to reach a seat-sharing arrangement in the 2019 polls, too faced a fall in its fortunes with the party reduced to just two seats in the 2019 polls.
"Our alliance could not happen while the Opposition coalition remained intact. The party will review all the points (that led to the defeat) and try to plug the loopholes," Das told reporters after submitting his resignation letter to Governor Droupadi Murmu. Das's government was first one to complete five years since the inception of the state in 2000.
The saffron party's Bihar allies — the JD(U) and LJP — contested the elections on their own. But none of their candidates won any seats till the publication of the article.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi too congratulated Soren for his party's performance in a series of tweets. He tweeted:
I thank the people of Jharkhand for having given @BJP4India the opportunity to serve the state for many years. I also applaud the hardworking Party Karyakartas for their efforts. We will continue serving the state and raising people-centric issues in the times to come. — Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) December 23, 2019
A reversal in BJP's fortunes
With Jharkhand joining the growing list of states slipping out of BJP's rule, the party now governs a mere 35 percent of the country's landmass in comparison to over 71 percent during its peak in 2017 when it was in power in the entire Hindi-speaking heartland.
Its string of losses in states despite the massive victory in the April-May Lok Sabha elections may force the party's top brass to revisit its strategy for the Assembly polls as it prepares for the upcoming battles in Delhi and Bihar. The percentage of the population being governed by the BJP in the states, either on its own or with its allies, now stands at around 43 percent from over 69 percent two years ago, data shows.
What may be of more concern to the party is that its graph in state polls has been on a steady decline since 2018 when it lost its bastions of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh besides Rajasthan, and its huge victory in the Lok Sabha elections this year has not translated into gains in states.
The BJP had always emerged as the single largest party in Jharkhand, once jointly with the JMM.
In all three states which have gone to the polls since Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to a landslide win in the general election, the party's vote share has fallen by big margins compared to the Lok Sabha polls.
The saffron party's vote share was more than 55 percent in Jharkhand and 58 percent in Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections. However, it slumped to 33 percent and 36 percent, respectively, in the Assembly polls in these two states, held barely a few months after the general elections.
Significantly, the party has suffered losses in states at a time when it has been successful in fulfilling its longstanding ideological promises, including nullifying Article 370, criminalising the practice of triple talaq and enacting Citizenship Amendment Act.
The Supreme Court's verdict in favour of building a Ram Temple in Ayodhaya was also a big boost to the BJP.
Top party leaders in election rallies spoke at length about these "achievements" under the Modi government but the voting returns have been fewer than what they might have expected.
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Updated Date: Dec 24, 2019 00:13:44 IST