BJP has suffered another setback in Jharkhand (Photo Credit: PTI File)
Jharkhand Assembly Election Results 2019: After losing Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh assembly elections in 2018 and sub-par performances in Haryana and Maharashtra this year, BJP has suffered another setback in Jharkhand. The state has been added to the list of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh - where the BJP lost power in the last 12 months. While the BJP lost Maharashtra in the recently held election, it barely managed to save Haryana from slipping away after Dushyant Chautala and Independents came to its rescue.
Here are the biggest reasons for BJP's loss in Jharkhand:
After facing and defeating a fractured opposition 2014, BJP had to face a united front this time as the major opposition parties– Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD) - formed an alliance. This made the Jharkhand elections a direct contest between the BJP and the Alliance. In 2014, the combined vote share of Congress and JMM was higher than the BJP-AJSU election in as many as 14 seats. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) and 'frenemy' AJSU also cut into BJP's vote share in many seats. All this meant that despite increasing their vote share (from 31.26% in 2014), BJP lost the close contests in many seats.
Breaking The Alliance With AJSU
BJP and AJSU had created history in 2014 when they became the first combine in the history of the state (Jharkhand was born in 2000) to secure majority in the assembly. However, this time BJP preferred to go alone. While it never officially broke the alliance and Amit Shah referred to AJSU as friends in his rallies, BJP was involved in a 'friendly' fight with AJSU candidates in more than 40 seats. With AJSU increasing its vote share to more than 8 per cent in these elections, it is safe to say that a pre-poll alliance would have been helped BJP get better results. With the margin of win-loss being low in several seats, a pre-poll alliance may have tipped the scale in favour of BJP and AJSU combine.
'370, Mandir' vs Local Issues
Maharashtra and Haryana elections showed that voters chose local issues over national ones in state elections. Jharkhand elections seems to have followed the pattern. While BJP's star campaigners like PM Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, Yogi Aditynath talked about issues like Article 370, Ram Temple Verdict or Citizenship Act in their rallies, it seems the issues did not excite the voters enough for them to give BJP a majority in the state.
While the Raghubar Das-led BJP government became the first to complete the full five-year term, it also had to fight the five years of anti-incumbency in the state. While the stability was a positive factor in favour of the BJP, some of the decisions taken by the Das government were not too popular. Das is not a very popular leader himself which is evident from his performance in his Jamshedpur East constituency.
After winning almost every election in 2014, BJP experimented by installing chief ministers from castes other than the dominant caste of the state — Brahmin Devendra Fadnavis instead of a Maratha leader in Maharashtra, Punjabi Khattar instead of a Jat leader in Haryana, and non-tribal Raghubar Das in Jharkhand. However, it seems these choices have not translated well for the party. After sub-par performances in the first two states, BJP seemed to be heading for similar tally in Jharkhand.