The Jharkhand Assembly verdict underlined the continued ‘regional’ influence on the voters irrespective of the political instability that afflicts the State since its creation in 2000. The people’s affinity with the regional parties which spearheaded the cause of a separate State and their aspirations seems to be a greater binding force in deciding the poll outcome than anything else. They continue to stand by those who fought for either a separate State or for issues at a rather micro level.
That explains former Chief Minister and JMM leader Shibu Soren’s assertion of his stature as the tallest adivasi leader despite fighting the election on his own strength staving off the multi-pronged challenges posed to erode his credibility.
He not only thwarted the designs of the BJP and Congress but also that of the newly formed JVM (P) of the former Chief Minister Babu Lal Marandi. In a sense, it was sweet revenge for Mr. Soren as the Congress discarded him and courted a new ally.
Mr. Marandi, nevertheless, too emerged as a major gainer as much, thanks again to the regional issues he fanned. He played a crucial role in two ways. One, he checkmated the BJP from which he parted company and floated his own party. And, by joining hands with the Congress, Mr. Marandi not only consolidated his position but also helped his ally to revive its fortunes and increase its tally.
Congress and BJP
For the Congress, the Jharkhand Asembly results indicate its steady revival in the Hindi heartland even though it did not increase its tally impressively. How the results influence the Congress in approaching the Bihar Assembly elections next year will be a factor under focus.
The BJP, despite its good showing in the Lok Sabha elections, lost enormous ground mostly because of the JVM and the crisis gripping the party at the national level. Its desperate effort to have a coordinated tie-up with its ally JD (U) too failed. . Both the BJP and the JD (U) will be weighing the fallout of the results in Bihar.
Divided secular forces
Other parties like the AJSU and the CPI-ML and the MCC too held their ground, because of their influence in their areas of activity. Former Chief Minister Madhu Koda’s wife Geeta too won her seat even though her husband was sent to jail on charges of corruption. Here too it was a case of the Ho tribe standing by its leader.
Even the RJD fared well to some extent despite the fact that the secular forces were a divided lot. LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan maintained that the secular forces would have had won two thirds majority had they contested the elections together.
The attempt by former naxalites and their relatives to enter the Assembly had a mixed result. At least two of them managed to succeed contesting on the tickets of the JMM and AJSU.
The electoral verdict doesn’t forebode any kind of political stability in the State. It is a moot point if in such a situation the State will be able to effectively counter the problem arising from naxalite violence and check loot of mineral and forest resources.