Intro: Jharkhand handed over a thumping majority to the BJP alliance in Jharkhand honouring call for stability given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The Modi wave propelled BJP not only close to majority, it also helped the party to make a double fold increase to its 2009 tally, and it was not an easy task. Thirty seven candidates of the BJP and
five of the All Jharkhand Students Indian Union party won and together helped make a simple majority in the 81-seat assembly.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) that won 19 seats (18 seats in 2009) emerged as the major Opposition; the only party left in the fray which could throw a decent challenge to the BJP’s elaborate campaign. The Congress’ challenge ended with a whimpering note with only six winning the election.
Blustering Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) boss Lalu Prasad now is left tongue tied—the party could not open account in Jharkhand this time. Lalu’s points-man like minister Annapurna Devi and Suresh Paswan lost from their respective constituencies. JD (U)’s virtual boss Nitish Kumar who once came for campaign has realised that Jharkhand which once was a strong base of the party is a close chapter now.
The Congress contested assembly poll in alliance with the RJD and JD (U) to stop BJP much on the lines of Bihar; the strategy which is worth scrapping. And JMM contested alone after talk for alliance with the Congress did not materialise.
Former BJP Chief Minister Babulal Marandi heading Jharkhand Vikash Morcha lost both the seats: he contested from Giridih and Dhanwa. By winning just eight seats, he could not convince voters that he is the best alternative to BJP and JMM in Jharkhand.
But then this victory of the BJP has elements of disappointments too. Three-time former Chief Minister Arjun Munda considered as a strong claimant of the CM post lost by a 10000 plus margin against his JMM rival.
In the wake of circumstances it is quite likely that central BJP this time may go ahead with a non-tribal Chief Minister much on the line of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It is much likely that Jamshedpur (East) MLA and national vice president of the party Raghubar Das may be anointed as the new CM of Jharkhand.
Very clearly this mandate reflects the mood of voters for change under the leadership of Modi: The state till today always hogged limelight for corruption, crime, left wing extremism and tandem of politician-bureaucrat making Jharkhand a basket case. Four former Chief Ministers of the state; Babulal Marandi, Madhu Koda, Arjun Munda and Hemant Soren suffering rout in this assembly poll is an indicator that encouraged by Modi’s call for good governance voters decided to punish these former state bosses directly or indirectly responsible for creating mess in Jharkhand. Jharkhand had also gifted Modi 12 out of 14 parliamentary seats during parliamentary elections.
To win Jharkhand, Modi and BJP national president Amit Shah picked Trivendra Singh Rawat and appointed him as state party in-charge besides Bhupendra Yadav who was election co in-charge of the state. “We have smashed the myth that regional parties like Jharkhand Mukti Morcha can rule the roost,” Rawat said.
The biggest success of BJP was that the party made dents in JMM’s bastion Santhal Pargana (total 18 seats) and even defeated Chief Minister and JMM’s chief poll architect Hemant Soren from Dumka-the seat which the JMM had retained for the last 35 years.
BJP’s tribal and Christian face Louise Marandi who defeated Hemant in Dumka was able to secure Christian and Muslim votes. Dumka and parts of Santhal Pargana delivered verdict quite on the lines that Rawat and his team had chalked out.
But finishing Hemant politically remained a half fulfilled agenda of the BJP. Hemant had anticipated BJP’s massive barricading in Dumka hence he decided to contest from Barhet assembly seat where he defeated BJP’s Hemlal Murmu.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had addressed as much as nine rallies in Jharkhand including two in Dumka and Barhet.
“We had expected at least 50 seats. But it is for first time when an alliance has secured absolute majority. BJP has a big responsibility to shoulder now in the government. We will undo decades of corruption fostered by the Congress, JMM and RJD’s misrule. Modiji has a special attention towards Jharkhand and the state will develop,” Rawat said.
—Abha Bharti from Ranchi