The BJP's challenge in Jharkhand and Delhi assembly elections has become even more daunting after less than expected performance in Haryana and Maharasthra.
Assembly Elections 2019: Haryana and Maharashtra assembly election results have come up as a wake-up call for the Bharatiya Janata Party as the party will face two more crucial elections in Delhi and Jharkhand in next few months. Though the party and its alliance partner Shiv Sena are able to win a clear majority in the Maharashtra but a resurgent NCP has shown that the strong regional parties, not the Congress, will be the biggest challenge for the saffron party in future. In Haryana, though a resurgent Congress under former chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda put up a tough fight to the BJP, it was the emergence of Dushyant Chautala’s Jannayak Janta Party that single-handedly cost the BJP a clear majority in the 90 members Haryana Assembly. It was the JJP’s victory in six seats won by the BJP in 2014 assembly elections that derailed the saffron party’s plan to win two back-to-back terms in Haryana with a clear majority.
Delhi becomes even more challenging after Haryana results
Less than expected performance in neighbouring Haryana is likely to complicate the BJP’s effort to defeat Arvind Kejriwal in Delhi. Although, Aam Aadmi Party could not win a single seat in Haryana despite fielding candidates in 46 seats but it’s not easy for either the BJP or the Congress to under-estimate the Aam Aadmi Party in the national capital. Despite suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi in Varanasi Lok Sabha elections in 2014, Arvind Kejriwal was able to regain the lost ground in the national capital and handed down a resounding defeat to both the BJP and Congress by winning 67 of the total 70 seats in state elections held in 2015. Despite PM Modi’s spirited campaign, the BJP could win just three seats and the Congress was not able to open its account in Delhi.
Haryana assembly election results reinforce the view that the voters exhibit different preferences in national and state elections and the BJP cannot rely on the popularity of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to win assembly elections in the absence of strong and popular leaders at the state level.
The BJP has swept all 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana in the Lok Sabha elections held in May this year. An assembly wise polling analysis showed that the party was number one in 79 of total 90 assembly seats in the national elections held in May this year. However, it came down to just half of the seats in this month’s assembly elections.
It also showed that the saffron party’s two main poll planks – a muscular nationalism and abrogation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir were not able to win over Jat votes in the state that sends a large number of soldiers in the armed forces.
Jharkhand Assembly Elections 2019
The BJP’s victory in 2014 assembly elections was attributed to the aggressive campaigning by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that helped the party to win 41 of the total 81 seats in the assembly in alliance with All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU). The BJP and its allies bagged 35% popular votes, leaving behind regional parties like Hemant Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (20%) and Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (10%) while the Indian National Congress won 10.5% popular votes.
In both the 2014 and 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP-AJSU alliance was able to win 12 of the total 14 seats in Jharkhand due to an unprecedented wave in favor of Narendra Modi. However, as Haryana results suggest, voters vote differently in Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha elections, if this turns out to be true in the upcoming Jharkhand elections as well then Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s popularity may not help incumbent chief minister Raghubar Das much.
Like Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Raghubar Das was also hand-picked by Prime Minister Modi and Amit Shah to lead the state after their aggressive campaigning helped the party to win assembly elections in the two states. However, this time, Raghubar Das will also have to face the anti-incumbency of his five years rule.