The early trends for the Jharkhand Assembly elections are out and the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance is racing ahead of the incumbent BJP. After six hours of counting, the Opposition alliance is leading in 41 seats while the BJP ahead in 30 seats. The magic number to form the government is 41.
While the BJP is going solo in this elections, the Congress has forged ties with regional parties Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Rashtriya Janata Dal. The other two parties in the fray are All Jharkhand Students’ Union Party (AJSU), the BJP ally which is contesting independently, and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), who are contesting independently. The two parties can play a decisive role in case the BJP and the JMM-Congress-RJD alliance fail to cross 41 seats on their own. Follow Jharkhand Election Results 2019 LIVE Updates here
Here is how the three regional parties stand in Jharkhand elections.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)
The oldest state party in the state, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is led by former Chief Minister Hemant Soren. The party is contesting the polls in alliance with the Congress and RJD. While the JMM fought in 43 seats, the Congress and RJD fought in 31 and seven seats, respectively.
The party was formed in 1973 as a result of a long struggle for a separate state of Jharkhand for the tribal people of mineral-rich eastern Bihar region. The party rose to prominence in the state and national electoral politics and managed to pressure the Bihar and central government to pass the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council (JAAC) in August 1995, laying the foundation of the state of Jharkhand.
Despite a brief resistance by the Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD, JMM managed to carve the separate state of Jharkhand from Bihar in the year 2000, and has since grown in stature in the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) alliance in the state. Whereas in the 2005 Jharkhand polls, the party got 17 out of the 81 assembly seats, in the immediate next elections, the JMM witnessed a sweeping victory.
Shibu Soren, who had formed the party with Binod Bihari Mahato, is a two-time chief minister of the state. His son and current chief of the party, Hemant Soren, also has been the chief minister of the state for a brief period.
Though in alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for a brief span, the JMM has proved its allegiance to the Congress-led UPA and continues to support it to this day. The state party, which had played second fiddle to the Congress in the general elections earlier this year, is playing a central role in state polls. If the alliance emerges triumphant in the election results, Jharkhand may again see Hemant Soren back as the chief minister.
Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha Prajatantrik (JVM-P), led by former Union minister and former CM Babulal Marandi, had won eight seats in the 2014 state polls. However, six of its MLAs defected to the BJP in 2015. Alleging horse-trading, Marandi had written to Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon but the six MLAs were inducted in the BJP.
Marandi, a former BJP leader himself, quit the party in 2006 after he felt he was being sidelined in the party. He founded JVM the same year.
The party can play a significant role in case there is a hung Assembly after the results.
All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) Party
The BJP and All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) Party, led by former state Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahto, had together formed the government in Jharkhand in the 2014 Assembly elections, winning 37 and 5 seats, respectively. While the BJP had contested 72 seats, the AJSU Party fielded candidates on eight seats.
However, AJSU severed ties with the BJP in the state days ahead of the elections due to a seat-sharing impasse. Following a less impressive show by the saffron party in the Assembly elections in Maharashtra and Haryana, AJSU had pitched for 17-19 seats in the 81-seat Jharkhand Assembly.
Mahto raised his demand with the BJP’s top leadership in Delhi in November, but the discussion could not move forward. Following this, the AJSUP announced its candidates on 12 seats. The BJP had already announced candidates in 4 out of these 12 seats.
After the release of its final candidates’ list, the AJSU and BJP are in a direct contest on 19 seats. in total, AJSU is contesting on 27 seats.
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