The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance on Monday is on course to post a convincing victory in the Assembly election, handing a crushing defeat to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which has lost another State after the recent setback in Maharashtra.
The JMM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal crossed the halfway mark in the 81-seat Assembly by a comfortable margin. The JMM and Congress party also emerged victorious in 47 seats — their highest ever tally of seats won individually since the formation of Jharkhand in 2000.
In this process, the JMM also became the single largest party with 30 seats, pushing the BJP to second position with 25 seats compared to 37 in 2014. The Congress increased its tally to 16 compared to six in 2014.
Interestingly, over 33.4% of the votes went in favour of the BJP while JMM and Congress polled 18.7% and 13.9% votes respectively.
JMM executive president Hemant Soren won from both the seats he contested — Dumka and Barhait — while outgoing Chief Minister Raghubar Das could not retain his Jamshedpur East seat. “I express my gratitude to the people of Jharkhand for giving a clear mandate which is a result of the hard work and sacrifice of Shibu Soren [his father] over the years. The time has come to achieve the goal for which Jharkhand as a separate State was created. This is a new chapter in the history of the State.,” Mr. Soren said at his residence in Ranchi.
After submitting his resignation, Mr. Das said, “The result was not as per our expectations. The way the JMM, the Congress and the RJD fought in alliance, we wanted to do like that. But it did not happen.”
The Opposition alliance posted big wins in the Santhal Pargana region, a JMM stronghold, despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah holding a number of meetings there.
Of the 18 crucial seats, the JMM bagged nine, followed by the Congress with four. The JMM has also performed well in the Kolhan region comprising the districts of East Singhbhum, Seraikella-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum.
All eyes were on Jamshedpur East where Mr. Das was defeated by his former Cabinet colleague Saryu Roy. Jharkhand BJP president Laxman Gilua and Speaker of the outgoing Assembly Dinesh Oraon also lost their seats.
From the Opposition, Jharkhand Congress president Rameswar Oraon won the Lohardaga seat. Jharkhand’s first Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and president of the All Jharkhand Students Union Sudesh Kumar Mahto ended their losing streaks by winning the Dhanwar and Silli constituencies respectively.
The chief ministerial candidate for the Opposition alliance, Mr Henant Soren, is credited with ensuring the convincing victory. JMM sources said he had conducted 165 rallies in 28 days, covering each constituency at least twice. He also held numerous informal meetings with civil society organisations, activists, government employees and other associations.