Jharkhand dumps BJP to choose JMM-led alliance, party loses 5th state as Congress gains strength

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International desk, December 24: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-led alliance has dealt yet another blow the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and clinched the Jharkhand assembly elections from the saffron brigade by a huge margin in Idia. With Jharkhand, BJP has lost the fifth state in a row while Congress has started to regain a foothold in the Hindi heartland.The Hemant Soren-led alliance of JMM, Congress and RJD attained a majority in the 81-member Jharkhand assembly on Monday. The coalition has clinched 47 seats, which is way past the required majority mark in the Jharkhand assembly, while BJP has won only 25, India Today reports.

The BJP contested 79 of 81 seats in the Jharkhand assembly, supported an Independent candidate in one constituency and did not put up nominee against AJSU Party president Sudesh Mahto.

Chief Minister Raghubar Das was dealt a severe blow in the Jharkhand assembly elections in which he failed to retain even his own seat, Jamshedpur East, which he lost to Independent candidate Saryu Roy, who is a BJP rebel and former minister.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader and son of former CM Shibu Soren, Hemant Soren, has managed to come out of the shadows of his father and clinch a decisive victory for the party to become a second-time chief minister of Jharkhand.

Hemant Soren’s first stint as chief minister of Jharkhand had lasted for just about 14 months, however, this time with him being the face of the alliance against BJP, the JMM leader is here to stay.

JMM, Congress and the RJD have managed to stop the seemingly invincible BJP with Hemant Soren as the face of the opposition alliance in Jharkhand.

Not known as a natural politician, Hemant Soren was not the first choice of his father Shibu Soren as the successor of his politics. However, now he will pick up the reins of JMM and Jharkhand for a second and stronger term as chief minister.

Till 11 pm on Monday, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das was trailing behind Saryu Roy, his former colleague and compatriot who ditched BJP to contest the Jharkhand assembly elections as an Independent candidate. Saryu Roy turned out to be the unexpected kingslayer of Jamshedpur where the former BJP minister managed to bring down the chief minister against whom he rebelled.

Raghubar Das on Monday said the BJP’s failure to cling on to the alliance with the AJSU party and the opposition parties’ ability to keep their coalition intact are the reasons for the loss in the assembly election. Raghubar Das, however, said it was his defeat and not of the BJP.

The BJP and the AJSU party, which had been in alliance since the creation of the state 19 years ago, failed to reach a seat-sharing formula and poached each other’s leaders to field them in the assembly elections.

Raghubar Das, whose government is first one to complete five years in the state, said, “I have honestly worked for the development of Jharkhand, providing electricity, roads and other schemes, covering every section of the society. In future also, I will serve as a BJP worker as party has always been working for the building of nation.”

With the major setback in Jharkhand, BJP has lost the fifth state within the span of a year and the second since the 2019 Lok Sabha elections in which the party came back with a greater mandate.

With the loss in Jharkhand assembly elections, BJP and its allies are left with just half of the Hindi heartland’s territories — Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana.

Within the span of a year, BJP has lost Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and now Jharkhand.

BJP’s presence and saffron cover across mainland India has reduced significantly over the past one despite a huge win in the Lok Sabha elections where it swept the region.

With Jharkhand joining the growing list of states slipping out of BJP’s rule, the party now governs mere 35 per cent of the country’s landmass in comparison to over 71 per cent during its peak in 2017 when it was in power in the entire Hindi-speaking heartland.

CONGRESS GAINS IN STRENGTH

Pushed to the wall with two successive blows in the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, Congress has only gained in strength. The grand old party has managed to stage comebacks in the heartland states of Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh while clinching Maharashtra from BJP in a prolonged political battle.

Following the positive results of the Jharkhand assembly elections, Congress leaders feel that the BJP is not invincible and can be defeated if like-minded parties come together. According to Congress this has been proved right in some states and the experiment can be implemented in upcoming elections as well.

The election results indicate that local and real issues of farm crisis, economy and unemployment have found more resonance at the ground and that bodes well for the opposition in future polls to win back states from the BJP.

However, while BJP’s presence has reduced, Congress has managed to stay afloat in some of the states with the support of allies and even some uncomfortable ones like the Shiv Sena.

While Congress is in power in the states of Punjab, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Puducherry on its own, it has come to power in Maharashtra and Jharkhand jointly with the support of its allies Shiv Sena and NCP and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha.