The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) contested the Jharkhand elections alone, unlike the 2014 assembly and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, when the All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) was its alliance partner.
Even a simple addition of the BJP and the AJSU votes suggests that an alliance between the two could not have been enough to cross the halfway mark.
As of 9:40pm, the combined vote share of BJP and AJSU would have won 40 out of the 81 assembly constituencies (ACs) in the state.
To be sure, a perfect transfer of votes (which the simple addition assumes) is extremely unlikely and the overall seat tally is usually lower.
In fact, it is the AJSU which has seen a drastic increase in spoiler aided losses this time.
A candidate finishing in third place is considered a spoiler in an assembly constituency if his or her vote share is more than the victory margin.
The number of ACs which the BJP lost due to spoilers has increased from 17 in 2014 to 18 in 2019.
For the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), this number has come down from 13 in 2014 to just three this time. This is a clear indication of the fact that the JMM was smart to stitch together a pre-poll alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).(See Chart 1)
Jharkhand has also seen a decline in close contests this time.
The number of ACs where the victory margin was less than 1% of total votes polled has come down from nine in 2014 to five in 2019. The number of ACs that were decided by a margin of 1%-5% has gone down from 23 to 11.
While one-third of the BJP’s 25 AC victories have come from seats where the victory margin is up to 5%, only 15% of the JMM alliance’s 47 AC victories have come from these seats.
The JMM alliance has won almost 60% of its seats with a victory margin of 10% or more. For the BJP this share is 36%.(See Chart 2)