Yearning for change, Jharkhand has voted BJP to power with the Assembly poll results handing out defeat to three former chief ministers in their home turfs indicating the electorate’s disenchantment with status quo.
There were speculations about the comeback of former BJP Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and three-time chief minister Arjun Munda but both lost the election and as such the party has more legroom to experiment with new faces, given the fact that the electorate has rejected most of the old faces.
Uncertainty has been the hallmark of Jharkhand politics with frequent change of political loyalties. While politicians kept changing parties, making and breaking one after the other government, the state was often dubbed a “banana republic” by critics.
The clear verdict in this election is to be seen in this context of recurring political stability in the state.
This is the third Assembly election in Jharkhand in its 14 years of existence but the state has seen nine governments interspersed with three periods of central rule.
The previous two polls were held in 2005 and 2009 and both voted hung assemblies.
The state has so far been ruled by five tribal Chief Ministers — Babulal Marandi, Arjun Munda (thrice), Shibu Soren (thrice), Madhu Koda (once) and Hemant Soren (once and incumbent) during the period. There have been occasional voices within Congress and BJP to prop up a non-tribal Chief Minister in the state.
Sudesh Mahto, who lost the election this time had twice been deputy chief minister in BJP-JMM-AJSU and Congress-JMM-AJSU governments.
A number of independent candidates kept on switching sides and got ministries in return in successive governments.
BJP had got its share of 32 legislators in the 81-member House after the creation of Jharkhand on November 15, 2000 and had formed a government with the support of JD (U)and some other parties.
It’s number rose to 33 after Babulal Marandi won a bypoll from vacant Ramgarh seat after becoming the first chief minister of Jharkhand.
The party’s tally slightly came down to 30 seats in the first Assembly elections held in the state in 2005. The 2009 Assembly elections, however, saw its numbers reduced to 18.
This Assembly poll has not brought good news for former Chief Ministers.
BJP heavyweight Arjun Munda lost from Kharsawan (ST). Another former Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who was in news for his alleged involvement in a multi-crore scam also lost from Majhgaon(ST) seat.
Marandi, who had later parted ways from BJP and formed his own party JVM(P), also had to bite the dust as he lost the Dhanwar seat to CPI(ML-Liberation). In Giridih seat, Marandi stood third after BJP and JMM candidates.
Outgoing Chief Minister Hemant Soren lost from Dumka, where he was MLA to the BJP, though he won from his second seat Barhait.
AJSU party chief Sudesh Kumar Mahto, who has been twice Deputy Chief Minister lost Silli seat to JMM.
This election has also somewhat made the politics in the state bio-polar and JMM under the leadership of Hemant Soren has performed much better than expected.
Congress has finished a poor fourth clinching five seats and leading in one and the blame game has begun in the party with a section blaming non-finalisation of alliance as a reason for the poor show of the party.