December 25, 2014



While the Opinion polls had suggested a 50+ tally for the BJP and its allies, the NDA managed to scrape past the half way mark by winning of 42 seats in the 81 member Jharkhand legislative assembly. Nevertheless it was the first time in the fourteen year long history of the state that the electorate here had given a clear mandate to one party or a pre-poll front. The BJP should be disappointed; having won 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in May this year and led in about 50 assembly segments, the saffron outfit's sheet is much below the expected mark. On the other hand, the ruling JMM too has reasons to be happy from the verdict; in spite of fighting anti-incumbency, the regional party managed to increase the tally it secured in the 2009 polls by a single seat. The Congress that contested the polls in alliance with the newly created Janta Parivar was routed, quite literally. Babulal Marandi's JVM-P too had its share of highs and lows.

Before, going into the details, here is a look at the final results as published on the ECI website (Link).
                                 Party Name                                 
National Democratic Alliance (NDA)
   a.  - Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)
   b.  - All Jharkhand Student's Union (AJSU)
JMM Front
   a.  - Jharkhand Mukthi Morcha (JMM)
United Progressive Alliance (UPA)
   a.  - Indian National Congress (INC)
   b.  - Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD)
   c.  - Janata Dal - United (JD-U)
JVM-P Front
   a.  - Jharkhand Vikas Morcha - Prajatantrik (JVM-P)
   b.  - Trinamool Congress (TMC)
  a.  - Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP)
  b.  - Communist Party of India - Marxist-Leninist Liberation (CPI-MLL)
  c.  - Jai Bharat Samanta Party (JBSP)
  d.  - Jharkhand Party (JP)
  e.  - Marxist Co-Ordination (MCO)
  f.  - Navjawan Sangharsh Morcha (NSM)

Now coming back to the 'victors'. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did end up as the single largest party in the state. However, what should worry the saffronists is that they could not go past the 41 mark on their own. After the results in the General Elections, pundits were expecting the party to nearly triple its 2009 tally of eighteen seats. With its ally, the All Jharkhand Student's Union (AJSU) winning 5 of the 8 seats that it fought in alliance with the BJP, the combine is all set to form the next government in Ranchi. The point to note is that in spite of their reasonably 'good' showing, the top leaders of both these outfits had to face defeat in their constituencies. Three time state CM Arjun Munda was beaten by JMM nominee Dasrath Gagrai from Khasran; Gagrai who had contested as a JVM-P candidate in 2009 had given lost a close contest to Munda back then. Meanwhile, AJSU chief Sudesh Mahato who hadd served as the state's Deputy CM too had to bit the dust from Silli constituency. The immediate consequence of this is that it has opened up the race for the CM's chair. Raghuvar Das who won from Jameshedpur - East is believed to be the front runner followed by state BJP unit president Ravindra Rai.

Though his party may have lost power, the outgoing CM and JMM leader Hemant Soren has emerged as a strong regional leader post the elections. Though his father and JMM supremo Shibu Soren may not have campaigned in the polls due to ailing health, he did put up a tough fight. It was only due to his focused campaign that the BJP was not able to go beyond the 50 way mark. On the other hand, there were some reasons for worry for him as well. Though he won from Barbhait, he lost his family stronghold of Dhumka to BJP's Lois Marandi. Also, the party's performance in the Santhal region was below par.

For all those Congressmen who thought that the Jharkhand polls could herald a new chapter in the INC's fortunes, especially after the successive electoral defeats in the last 12 months, their hopes were dashed. The Congress which had forged an alliance with the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal - United (JD-U) could only manage six seats. Clearly, the move to sever ties with the JMM proved to be a blunder; besides, it also failed to strike a deal with Marandi's JVM-P which has a strong presence in certain pockets in the state. Had the party managed to form a grand alliance and bring the JMM, the JVM-P, RJD and JD-U together, the results could have been dramatically different.

Considering that most of his incumbent MLAs had switched sides prior to the polls, Babulal Marandi must be happy that he still won 8 seats. However, that seems to be the only solace for the state's first CM. Surprisingly, Marandi who is known for his 'clean' lost from both the seats that he contested. He was beaten by CPI-MLL's Rajkumar Yadav in Dhanwar and by BJP's Nirbhay Shabadi in Giridh. Meanwhile, with the BJP-AJSU combine winning a simple majority, he cannot play the role of the 'King-Maker' either. There are strong indications that Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha - Prajatantrik (JVM-P) may join the ruling regime. Speculations are rife that the party may also be merged into the BJP.

Amongst the other smaller parties, the biggest shock came in the form of the defeat of former CM Madhu Koda from Majhgaon by JMM's Nial Puty. However, his wife Geeta managed to win the Jagganathpur constituency as a JBSP candidate. Besides, smaller regional outfits like the BSP, the JP and the NSM too bagged a seat each. Two candidates from Leftist parties like the the MCO and the CPI-MLL were also successful.

For long, it has been stated that political instability in the state has been the prime reason for Jharkhand to lag behind in the sphere of development. Illiteracy, malnutrition and poverty index continues to remain extremely high. Left winged extremism has only made the matters worse. Now that the BJP and its allies have got a clear mandate, the onus is on the party to deliver on its pre-poll promises.

For all posts related to the Jharkhand State Polls 2014, click here (Link)