Assembly Elections will be held in Jharkhand across five phases starting November 30, the Election Commission (EC) announced Friday.
Close to 2.5 crore voters in the state will exercise their franchise on November 30, and December 7, 12, 16 and 20. Thirteen seats will go to poll in the first phase, followed by 20 in the second, 17 in the third, 15 in the fourth and 16 in the final phase on December 20. The results will be announced on December 23.
The elections have been announced within ten days of poll results from Maharashtra and Haryana, where the BJP failed to match its Lok Sabha performance. The stakes, therefore, are high for the ruling party as Jharkhand is crucial to determine whether the BJP wave still prevails. Friday’s announcement also scotched rumours of early elections in Delhi.
Jharkhand is currently under BJP rule with Raghubar Das as Chief Minister for a five-year term. In the 2014 Assembly elections, the BJP bagged 37 seats and formed the government with alliance partner All Jharkhand Students’ Union that had won five seats. Six MLAs of former CM Babulal Marandi’s party Jharkhand Vikas Morcha also joined the BJP soon after the elections.
Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Hemant Soren had told The Indian Express this week that his party will tie up with the Congress for the polls, but lead the alliance and contest more than half of the seats in the state on its own. The JMM has 19 MLAs while Congress has eight legislators in the current Assembly.
There will be approximately 30,000 polling stations in the states and the Model Code of Conduct has comes into immediate effect. This is also the first state election in which senior citizens voters above the age of 80 years and voters who are physically challenged will have the option of casting their vote through postal ballots. The term of the current 81-member Assembly ends on January 5 next year.