The NDA was leading in 10 out of the 14 seats in Jharkhand, riding the Modi wave; the mahagathbandhan was ahead in the other four seats, all of which are reserved constituencies.
Jharkhand has five ST seats — and if the mahagathbandhan manages to pick up the four seats in which they are leading, it would suggest that a significant section of the Adivasi population may not have bought into the wave that has powered the BJP across large swathes of the nation. Jharkhand has around 27 per cent tribal population.
Of the state’s ST seats, Khunti saw the Pathalgadi unrest, Singhum is badly affected by malnutrition and home to many Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups, Rajmahal saw a JMM victory in the last election, and Lohardaga saw a tight contest in the last election between the Congress and BJP.
Don’t miss from Explained | Why Congress stares at near collapse in Odisha
JMM president Shibu Soren was trailing from Dumka against the BJP candidate. The election plank of protection of jal, jungle, and zameen does not seem to have worked in the constituency that Soren has won every time barring twice since 1989.
The results could also decide the future of the coalition, with the JMM leading in one seat (Rajmahal) and the Congress leading in the other three. The JVM(P) and RJD were trailing in the three seats they fought.
The BJP won 12 out of 14 seats in the last election and is set to do almost as well. However, a big disappointment would be the defeat of BJP state president Laxman Giluwa, who was trailing by 49,000 votes at the Singhbhum seat by mid-afternoon.