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After Maharashtra and Haryana, Jharkhand Verdict Consolidates a Trend That Must Worry BJP

The issues in a state election and a national election are different, as the BJP is learning in Jharkhand.


Updated:December 23, 2019, 1:54 PM IST
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After Maharashtra and Haryana, Jharkhand Verdict Consolidates a Trend That Must Worry BJP
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Jharkand CM Raghubar Das on the campaign trail. (PTI photo)

The issues in a state election and a national election are different, and success in either of them won’t necessarily guarantee a win in the other. It is this theory that appears to be holding true as the trends for the Jharkhand assembly elections started to settle around noon on Monday.

According to trends till 12:30 pm, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was on the verge of losing the majority in Jharkhand as it led on 29 seats compared to 41 seats that the opposition alliance was ahead in. At the same time, BJP’s vote-share hovered around 33 per cent compared to the opposition’s 35 per cent.

This is despite the fact that the BJP with its former ally All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) party had won 13 out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state earlier this year. The BJP alone had garnered over 55 per cent of its contested vote-share, which on Monday looks to have come down by more than 15 percentage points.

At the other end of the political spectrum, the Congress-Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance looks set to improve its vote-share from about 30 per cent during the Lok Sabha elections to more than 35 per cent in the current assembly elections.

This trend of variation in voter behaviour is not just limited to Jharkhand. BJP, which had stormed to power for a second term at the Centre in the Lok Sabha elections in May this year, suffered a similar fate in October during the Maharashtra and Haryana assembly elections as well.

In Maharashtra, BJP had contested both the Lok Sabha as well as the state elections in an alliance with the Shiv Sena. While the Narendra Modi-led party had secured 53 per cent of the votes in the constituencies it contested in the general elections, this was reduced to 45 per cent during the assembly polls in October.

This brought its tally in the state from 122 in 2014 to 105 this time around. The party eventually failed to form the government in the state after its ally Shiv Sena broke the alliance to form a government led by its chief Uddhav Thackerey with the support of the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress.

Similarly, BJP had registered a landslide victory in Haryana during the Lok Sabha elections in May where it won all the 10 seats available in the state. In a show of absolute dominance, the party secured an impressive 58 per cent of the total vote-share.

However, this was not the case during the assembly elections in the northern state in October this year. The saffron party failed to secure a majority on its own in the 90-member strong house as its vote-share plummeted more than 20 percentage points to 36 per cent. After falling short of its own lofty targets, the BJP had to offer the deputy chief minister post to leader of rival party Jannayak Janata Party (JJP) Dushyant Chautala to form the government in Haryana.

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