BJP’s defeat in Jharkhand Assembly Poll: prudence for BJP or prospect for Congress

jharkhand polls

The people of India had been thrilling and ecstatic moods for Jharkhand poll result after the passing of some appalling laws of the BJP government, namely the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019, abrogation of Article 370 and Jammu and Kashmir Re-organization Act, the historical verdict in favor of Ram Mandir and Constitutional Amendment Act 2019. The BJP itself would also eager to guesstimate the mass-voters after the passage of the bills as it did not initiate its second-inning as rainstorm beginning due to disenchanted results in the last Haryana and Maharashtra assembly elections.

The luminous sweeping by ‘Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Congress and Rashtriya Janta Dal alliance’ over the BJP in Jharkhand may be turning point for the upcoming election of Delhi, West Bengal and Bihar. BJP government led by Raghubar Das could not accommodate the voters despite it has the strength of completing 5 year tenure as record since 2000. The central leadership of the BJP envisaged the ground reality as the state was going under anti incumbency mood that led to organize 31 big rallies of star campaigners namely Narendra Modi, Amit Shah and Yogi Adityanath. These rallies were full of effort in accommodating the voters by campaigning about passage of historical and long-awaited bills. For the BJP, securing 25 seats in the state assembly indicates towards counter polarization of the voters as non-NDA parties as unity have against the three Acts passed by the BJP during the last six months. Out of these, the Constitutional Amendment Act 2019 (CAA) has sparked a huge controversy leading widespread unrest and protest to the entire nation. The student sections came forward by marching in rallies and protest to demonstrate their anger against the CAA 2019. Though, there might be another no of factors for poor performance as the sitting chief minister himself could not protect his seat from an independent candidate. This piece of paper glimpses an outline how BJP did not perform despite the election process took place in phases giving ample time to present its achievements among the people.

For BJP, weakness may be grabbed from the issue of an existing non-tribal CM in the history of Jharkhand since 2000. A tribal chief minister has always been the common acceptance of the tribal state due to historical factors, customary and sentiment associated with Jharkhand state. Therefore, the JMM-Congress won 25 of the 28 ST seats, it shows the 30 per cent tribal population had dumped the Raghubar Das government as he could not take confidence people belonging to regional and local. He himself became a target point on account of non-state domicile. Therefore, regional, local and sentiment factors prevailed over the social engineering of central leadership as it was done in 2014.

Raghubar Das as CM lacks in the popularity since his inception, leading to conflict among the party functionaries as well as core leadership. In this combination, it has acted as backfire for the BJP in the election resulting in 25 seats.

The BJP could not protect its regime, despite no of insightful initiatives as experienced in the last six months by the central level. It was an opportunity to cash all the policies of the central governments. But, people from the state were passing through an anti – incumbency phase as it was high expectation from the ruling government. The newly state Jharkhand is marred by high levels of poverty and unemployment. The voters themselves have felt disappointed from the performances of the government, despite the five year tenure has been under the same political party at both centre and state.

The BJP leadership at central level could not succeed in managing its allies, namely AJSU, JDU and other parties which are part of the government. A tribal, state always needs connection and association from local, regional parties represented by local allies. In this election, the BJP has shown its confidence by not making allies due to tussle over seat-sharing issue. This overconfidence of the BJP did play a negative role in accommodating the voters. This situation turns into an opportunity to the oppositions to grab the voters as they were fighting, namely grand alliance of the JMM, Congress and RJD, a combination of national and regional parties.

The last two phases of the election could also change the ambiance of the voters as the entire nation, particularly university students and all non-NDA parties sped up their anger by protesting against the CAA. This protests were managed as form of portraying BJP as anti Muslim, anti ST-SC and anti constitution led to the polarizing the voters. Therefore, the other sensitive issue like Ram Mandir, CAA, Tripal Talaq Bill and abolition of Article 370 did not polarize the voters as expected. The actual result illustrates towards the counter polarization. And, JMM-Congress-RJD allies did not miss any opportunity to tarnish the image of BJP by highlighting the issue of rape and other economic crisis. These issues were portrayed as the biggest failure of the BJP all over India.

Another factor for loss of BJP is associated with the great effort done by Hemant Soren as Paidal March in order to connect with the local people in the last six months resulting in confidence building. The history of JMM party begins itself from the local and tribal issues and its fight for the separate statehood. The young leadership of Hemant Soren has been another root-cause for attracting the youths and new voters as it is lacking in BJP leadership.

The victory of Jharkhand assembly 2019 as ‘JMM-Congress-RJD alliance’ could be seen as several viewpoints for the entire nation. Although, the effect of the victory would raise the confidence level of the opposition parties as the BJP’s masterstroke did not hit the boundary in the election. In upcoming elections, the BJP leadership might be searching the agenda as it has already exhausted by passing the bills in the last six months. And, the oppositions will have full of opportunity to raise the development agenda since BJP was in power at centre for last five years and in several states. It’s very remarkable to see how the oppositions do manage in reaching the masses in the upcoming elections as Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah would disassociate themselves from the defeat by justifying a fixation of responsibilities to Raghuvar Das? This election result may be utilized as a draft policy against curbing the shining image of Prime Minister Narednra Modi being used as a weapon against the congress Gandhi Pariwar and regional leaders. The draft policy may convert into policy if the regional parties would forward together with congress by making alliance against the BJP as it was experienced in 1977 as a non-Congress government under the leadership of Morarji Desai. Tough, non-congress led government did not sprint for a long time due to internal clash among the alliance. But, it would be reminded as a beginning of the coalition government at Centre since 1977.

Dr Ahmed Raza, Assistant Professor, Department of Public Administration, Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Hyderabad, India




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