Only 9 per cent of the Muslims voted for the BJP; 60 per cent voted for the Congress and its allies

The outcome of the 2014 Lok Sabha election in Jharkhand conformed to the national scenario — 12 out of 14 seats were bagged by the BJP, which, having no ally in the State this time, contested all the seats. This was four more than the tally of 2009 when it had contested 12 seats with the JD(U) as an ally. In vote percentage, the BJP has made a big jump: while in the 2009 election it had only got 27 per cent of the votes, this time it succeeded in getting 40 per cent of the votes.

The two remaining seats — Dumka and Rajmahal were won by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). The party retained some hold in the Santhal Pargana region while ceding most of the north and south of the State to the BJP.

As our post-poll survey shows, the BJP polled only 27 per cent in the Santhal region, whereas its vote share in the other two regions was over 40 per cent. Despite Mr. Modi’s rally in Basukinath town in this region, the BJP candidate Hemlal Murmua (a JMM stalwart till recently) was defeated by Vijay Hansdak of the JMM. The post-poll survey shows that the BJP had an advantage among the young, educated, urban, upper caste Hindu, OBCs, rich and middle class voters. About 50 per cent of its voters were below 36 years of age, 35 per cent had studied in college and done their post graduation, more than 60 per cent were upper caste Hindus and OBCs, and more than 60 per cent were economically well off (middle class and rich). Two-thirds of the urban voters, three- fourths of the upper caste Hindus and half of those who had high media exposure showed their preference for the BJP.

The party on the other hand failed to gain the confidence of the Muslims of the State — only 9 per cent of the Muslims voted for it with 60 per cent voting for the Congress and its allies.

Reasons for success

The reasons for the BJP’s electoral success in the State were manifold. The Modi factor did play some role in the victory as about 30 percent of the voters considered him the most trustworthy leader, the most proactive, and the one who cares for people. However, the issue of price rise, corruption, and unemployment, for which they hold the UPA government responsible, also played a role in the BJP’s success this time. But a large number of voters voted for the party not because of the charisma of its prime ministerial candidate but because of the candidates the party selected or because of their belief in the party. About 33 per cent of the voters opined that they voted on the basis of the candidate and about 50 per cent on the basis of the party.

Since its formation, Jharkhand has witnessed political instability and misgovernance. The State government is not seen to be very efficient. The Congress and its State-level ally, the JMM, seem to have lost people’s confidence. This has helped the BJP in gaining a resounding victory in Jharkhand.

(Harishwar Dayal is a Professor at the Institute for Human Development and the Director of its Eastern Regional Centre, Ranchi)

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Correction

>>The constituency from which Jharkhand Mukti Morcha candidate Shibu Soren was elected was wrongly given as Hajipur in the infographic on the Comment page (May 23, 2014). It should have been Dumka.

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