The BJP is set to defeat the Congress-led combined opposition in Jharkhand on Thursday as the party looks set to win 11 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state, one less than its tally in the last general election.
Thursday’s result in the state can be considered bigger for the Bharatiya Janata Party than in 2014 as the ruling party at the Centre was up against the grand opposition alliance of four parties — Congress, JMM, JVM(P) and RJD — in the state this time around.
The result also sets the tone for the state assembly elections later this year where chief minister Raghubar Das will again take the combined opposition.
The BJP was leading in ten seats, one less than in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, and its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) party was leading in Giridih.
It, however, garnered a huge jump in its vote share this year. In 2014, the party received a vote share of 40.1%, this year it has increased to 49%, while AJSU was getting 5.6% of the votes till 2pm.
Though the BJP was trailing in three of its sitting seats — Singhbhum, Lohardaga and Khunti — the party was pulling off a major turnaround in Dumka where JMM patriarch Shibu Soren was trailing to its candidate Sunil Soren. However, the numbers could change as the margins in Lohardaga and Khunti was less than 10,000 votes at 2pm.
Some of the other high profile leaders trailing include former chief minister and the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) chief Babulal Marandi from Koderma and ex-CM and BJP leader Arjun Munda from Khunti.
The BJP’s spokesperson of its Jharkhand unit Dindayal Barnwal attributed the party’s performance in the state to the development agenda of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Raghubar Das governments.
“Rahul Gandhi kept saying Chowkidar Chor Hai, but people have given him a befitting reply and certified that we have an honest prime minister who has been working for the betterment of people. We thank voters for reposing faith in the development agenda of Narendra Modi and Raghubar Das governments,” he added.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, however, said it is confident of winning two seats in Santhal.
“Even in 2014, Guruji (Shibu Soren) was trailing in the first ten rounds and then he won by a handsome margin. Around ten rounds of counting are still to go. We are confident of his win. Also, there is a tight contest in Rajmahal, which we will ultimately win,” said JMM spokesperson Manoj Pandey.
Independent observer LK Kundan said the BJP has managed a ‘surprising’ result.
“This is after a long time we are witnessing this kind of popularity of one leader in the country. This is also a victory of the unprecedented campaign apparatus and resource. The joint opposition in the state also could not match the cadre and the ideological drive to defeat the BJP,” Kundan, who teaches political science at Ranchi University, said.
May 23, 2019 16:16 IST
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