Jharkhand Assembly Election: BJP Heading towards Victory
Jharkhand has remained a strong performance area for BJP right since Ayodhya Andolan. Even while Lalu Prasad Yadav was ruling erstwhile Bihar, he lost most seats to BJP in South Bihar (now Jharkhand). So this region has always been a BJP MOAT. During 90s, BJP won 11-13 seats in each of the 4 Lok Sabha elections and helped Vajpayee ji become PM, twice. It was only in 2004 that BJP won just 1. This happened because there was 1st Mahagathbandhan of Congress, JMM, RJD, CPI(M). Despite that BJP won 33% votes, 12% higher than Congress, it could not convert it to seats. BJP had/has a dedicated voteshare of ~32% in Jharkhand, JMM has a dedicated voter base of 15%, Congress 12%, JVM 10%, AJSU 5%.
2009 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections were an aberration when BJP could get just 20-24% votes. There were 2 reasons
1. Split & rise of JVM
2. Pampering of JDU
Babulal Marandi, who split and formed Jharkhand Vikas Morcha was a long time member of Sangh. After his split, a large chunk of BJP voters went along with him. Unlike all his successors, he was popular even as a Chief Minister of Jharkhand. BJP made an ‘outsider’ Munda as CM, who was from JMM and had joined BJP, during it’s peak of 90s.
The 2nd tactical blunder by BJP was over pampering of Nitish Kumar led JDU as it thought that JDU has control over the Kurmi voters of Jharkhand. In reality, JDU started losing its sheen post bifurcation of Bihar. While RJD still commanded 5-6%, JDU was gradually losing its base to AJSU. Atal Bihari Vajpayee made sure a BJP strong region was freed from the clutches of Lalu Prasad Yadav, However, Lal Krishna Advani’s 2 tactical blunders in mid 2000s meant that BJP would go backwards. Come 2014, BJP regained it’s votes from JVM at the back of Modi wave. JVM on the other hand gained at the cost of others.
In Assembly elections however BJP slipped again and went back to its base share of 32%. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha put up a stronger show than expected as it was in power & crossed 20% for the 1st time. JVM also regained some of its votes it had temporarily lost to BJP.
Similarity between Shiv Sena And JVM
The story of Babulal Lal Marandi’s JVM is similar to that of Shiv Sena. In mid 2000s he was humiliated by BJP top brass. However, when Modi took reins, he tried to reconcile, but Marandi did not budge. As a result of it, in Lok Sabha election, his party was wiped out and in Assembly election his party could win only 6 seats. Later most of the MLAs were poached by BJP post 2014 Assembly. In the build up to 2019 elections, JVM in desperation was looking for a place in Mahagathbandhan. His party had to therefore settle for 2 seats which they lost by a huge margin. Party president and founder Babulal Marandi faced 2nd successive defeat. JVM which is going solo in the upcoming assembly election may cease to exist if it does not win a good number of seats in the election.
How Results of Haryana and Maharashtra affects Jharkhand?
Until the recent elections in Maharashtra and Haryana which has given a new lease of life to a demoralized and devasted opposition and hostile media, it seemed that BJP is crusing. After the result there are causalities on both sides, UPA and NDA. JVM left UPA and AJSU left NDA. Jharkhand was the 1st state where, Mahagathbandan formula was carried out to keep BJP at Bay in 2004. Jharkhand was the 1st state when the Mahagathbandan formula failed brick by brick. It was a true (opportunist though) alliance of 4 strong parties which got crushed in Modi 2.0
Aftermath of 2019 LS results, Congress humiliated JVM and offered sub dozen seats which they refused. Aftermath of Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly, AJSU started behaving like JDU and demanded a bigger pound of flesh. Clearly BJP is no mood to surrender, whatever the cost. In 2009 JVM vote bank was mostly of Sangh voters or saffron tribals. Post alliance with Congress, most of it moved back to BJP. JVM has now consumed votes of other splinter tribal parties, mostly Christian & some Dalits. So for every 3 votes JVM spoils for BJP, it would spoil 7 for UPA.
AJSU on the other hand would dent 5% votes, all from NDA as Kurmi Mehtos would have been with BJP. So net net, the fallout of alliances, NDA loses 8% and UPA loses 7%.
After being unable to form government of its own in the states of Maharashtra and Haryana, many believe that BJP may fail in Jharkhand too. What do you think? Predict the outcome of upcoming election.
Where does the Party stands?
Coming to other factors, BJP CM Raghubar Das is not popular. He is midway of Kattar and Fadnavis in popularity. As he is not strong and there is no direct face of Modi in line, this would cost BJP 10% votes, over and above the 8% as compared to Lok Sabha. Congress has weakened even further with its prominent leaders joining BJP. Although that is far from disaster for Congress as a section of voters still consider it as the default ruling party and swing back to it, at slightest anger. JMM under Hemant Soren is running an aggressive campaign and getting traction among 2/3rd of tribals. JVM story was all but over, but all 2nd level contenders from BJP and UPA have joined JVM for tickets and it may get get a minor push this Assembly. AJSU’s adventure may cost both ultimately.
Assuming voter turnout to be over 65%, BJP could get 37% voteshare and 40 seats (38-42), JMM may get 21 seats with 20% voteshare, Congress 12 with 12% voteshatre, RJD 1 seat with 3% voteshare, JVM 4 seats with 10% voteshare, AJSU 2 seats with 4% voteshare and others 1 seat with 13% voteshare. Somehow post Ayodhya verdict, BJP should scrap through. JDU has melt down, LJP has no base in state and Communists are irrelevant.
Suyash Bharadwaj @Suyash75