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Could Tie-up Between BJP & AJSU Lead to Victory? Why Jharkhand Elections Were Beyond Arithmetic

File photos of CM Raghubar Das and JMM leader Hemant Soren.

File photos of CM Raghubar Das and JMM leader Hemant Soren.

Almost every analyst has concluded that there was a serious anti-incumbency against the Raghubar Das government. The 8.1% vote share of the AJSU is a vote share secured while opposing the state government.


Sudiep Shrivastava

Ranchi: On the day of Jharkhand election results, media organisations were running vote share provided by the Election Commission of India as there was no other source available for them to have a reliable data.

It is true that the ECI data is a reliable data but the same is not comparable of previous year's data of the same state as the Election alliances or absence of alliances is not being taken on to the account by the ECI.

As a matter of fact, same was not the job of the ECI either but should have been done by in-house psephologist or data geeks of different media houses as they were providing comparison to their viewers by comparing the current data with last election of 2014. In absence of the said exercise, many myth about current election has been generated.

1. BJP's vote share has increased in 2019 though it has lost:

This is factually incorrect if one considers that BJP had contested only 72 assembly in 2014 and left 8 for AJSU and 1 for LJP. So the 2014 vote share of 31.26% should have been taken in to account for 72 seats only. And for real analysis it should have been extrapolated for the 79 seats which BJP contested this time. The extrapolated figure or the vote share had the BJP contested 79 seats in 2014, it would have been 34.30 %. This time BJP has got a mere 33.4% vote, which means a net loss of 0.9% of votes.

In easy way of understanding, the BJP alliance has secured 35.3% votes in 2014. whereas it has bagged around 34.3% even if votes of AJSU of two seats where BJP has not contested should be taken in to the account. So there is again a loss of around 1% of votes this time for the BJP.

2. JMM became single largest party though its vote share has declined by almost 2%

To understand this, we are required to know about the seats contested by JMM in 2014 as this time, the party was in alliance with INC and RJD. In 2014 JMM contested alone in all 81 seats and bagged 20.43% and winning 19 assembly seats.

This time JMM contested 43 while leaving 31 for INC and 7 for RJD and secured a vote share of 18.72% which is 1.71% less than the last time of 2014. However, what is important that JMM got this vote share in 43 seats alone, effectively making a 60 to 100 % jump in its vote share in the seats it has contested this time and in the process surpassing the margin of defeat in many seats comfortably. The seats which it had won last time were consolidated further wiping out any anti-incumbency effect in the process too.

So the JMM ended up with a handsome tally of 30 seats while contesting only 43 leaving behind the BJP which has secured victory in only 25 out of 79 seats it has contested and handed over a decisive blow on any possibility of formation of government by BJP taking away the single largest party tag.

Moreover, Congress too which has contested alone in 2014 and bagged 10.46% votes secured 13.88% votes, while contesting only 31 seats. This enables party to win 16 out of 31 seats it has contested keeping its strike rate above 50% to claim itself a winner too in the instant election. RJD the third ally of this grand alliance secured 2.75% votes in 7 seats it has contested and secured victory in just one seat while losing 2 more with close margin.

The total vote share of Grand Alliance is 35.35% votes which is almost two per cent more than the BJP in the seats it has contested this time.

3. Had BJP and AJSU contested in alliance they would have emerged winner for sure:

The third and final most misconception which has been offered as election analysis is that BJP and AJSU would have won the election in an alliance as the former has bagged 33.4% votes and latter 8.1%. Thus, adding both would come to a figure of invincible 41.5% vote share. Some analyst also added up votes of AJSU candidates and BJP candidates and concluded that at least 41 seats would have been won by the alliance in that case.

Whether the same thing would have happened? The answer is in NO as the elections are not plain mathematics and this type of adding of votes without considering the important issues of the elections would not give a correct picture.

It is a fact and almost every analyst has concluded that there was a serious anti-incumbency against the Raghubar Das government and any body who would have fought the election for a repeat Ragubar Sarkaar would have been on the receiving end by the voters. The 8.1% vote share of the AJSU is a vote share secured while opposing the Raghubar sarkaar on the ground. Had it fought in alliance of the BJP, its core vote bank alone could have been transferred but the rest of the votes which has been polled against Ragubar government would have been transferred to JMM alliance.

It is also important to note that AJSU has contested maximum number of seats 56 this time even in areas it has no base otherwise its impact is limited to some 20 odd seats where OBC's Kurmi-Koiri mostly live. In many of these extra seats, the AJSU has put up such candidates who share same religion or caste of the candidate contesting from the Grand Alliance, resulting in some sort of advantage to BJP. Had those candidates not contested, the vote share of the grand alliance would have been surely better.

Rajmahal: This seat has been won by a BJP candidate from majority community, by securing 88,000 votes while JMM and AJSU candidates, both from the minority community, together got one lakh votes.

Pakur: Same pattern was applied here but INC's Muslim candidate defeated BJP's Hindu despite there being a minority candidate from AJSU.

Maheshpur: In Maheshpur, JMM's Stephan Marandi came out victorious despite AJSU putting a Marandi candidate.

Nala: In Nala, JMM candidate Mahto defeated BJP's Jha whereas in this seat again the AJSU shares the same caste Mahto.

Mahagama: In Mahagama, seat AJSU has put up a minority candidate yet INC secured a victory.

A bare perusal of few seats above demolishes the theory that AJSU contesting alone has only damages BJP. As a matter of fact the BJP has not hit hard AJSU during the campaign and this clearly indicates that there was a tacit understanding between the BJP and AJSU.

However, the voters were too smart and read the hidden script and made their own story.

(The author is a lawyer and a political observer. Views expressed are personal.)

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