It’s a neck-and-neck fight between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance in Jharkhand. As per the latest trends, the BJP is leading in 31, while the JMM-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) alliance is ahead in 40 seats.
As the counting began for the 81-seat Jharkhand Assembly, the JMM-led alliance made early leads, but the BJP is now catching up. The Opposition alliance, which had tried to keep the focus on local issues, was predicted to have an edge over the ruling BJP by at least three exit polls.
Raghubar Das took oath as Chief Minister in 2014 after the BJP won 37 seats and stitched an alliance with AJSU, which had won 5 seats. However, AJSU broke ties with BJP and is contesting the current elections solo.
Under the leadership of JMM chief Hemant Soren, Congress and RJD have come together to oust BJP from power. While the JMM has fielded candidates in 43 seats, the Congress and the RJD are fighting for 31 and seven seats, respectively.
The state went to polls for 81 Assembly seats in five phases from November 30 to December 20.
BJP, JMM, Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha – Prajatantrik (JVM-P) are the main political parties in the fray.
Jharkhand is the third-BJP ruled state which has gone to polls this year. This election is crucial for BJP as it has already lost power in Maharashtra, and in Haryana, it managed to secure its government after entering into a post-poll alliance with Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janata Party.
The exits polls have indicated a marginal advantage to the JMM-led alliance and have pointed towards a hung Assembly.
According to the ABP/C-Voter exit poll, JMM, Congress and RJD will retain 35 seats. It has, however, given 32 seats to the ruling BJP, 5 to AJSU and three to the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and six to others.
India Today-Axis My India shows that the BJP is going to trail behind the Congress. It has given JMM-led opposition between 38 and 50 seats and the BJP between 22 and 32 seats. It has predicted 3 to 5 seats for the AJSU, 2 to 4 seats for the JVM-P, and 4 to 7 seats to others.
In case of a hung Assembly, AJSU and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha -Prajatantrik could be calling the shots.
According to the Election Commission of India, the approximate voter turnout for all the 81 Assembly constituencies across the five phases was 65.17 per cent as compared to the 66.53 per cent recorded in the 2014 elections.
The tenure of the current Assembly ends on January 5, 2020. This is the fourth Assembly election in Jharkhand since the state was carved out of Bihar in 2000.