The BJP will go into the day of counting in Jharkhand in pole position, having ensured they remain in contest in almost all 81 seats.
This was reflected in the exit polls released after voting ended on December 20 – all the surveys predicted a comfortable majority for the BJP’s alliance with AJSU Party and LJP.
While Today’s Chanakya had predicted 61 seats for the BJP’s alliance, ABP News-Nielsen gave it 54. The India Today Group-CICERO survey gave the BJP 43-51 seats.
All exit polls have however kept a high error percentage, mostly because there are up to 13 seats whose outcome remains uncertain. Various factors are at play in them – poor choice of candidates by certain parties, an unquantifiable influence of various left wing extremist groups and multi-cornered fights, to name some.
However, the BJP is hoping that two factors will override all the micro problems that were on the minds of voters – Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the state’s desire to see a government complete its tenure for the first time since formation in November 2000.
As voting progressed, it became clear from the data that a new factor was emerging. The women’s turnout (67.03 per cent) this election is more than that of men by 1.06 per cent. This was largely because the Election Commission focussed on enrolling more women over the past year, driving the sex ratio in the Voters’ List from 878 in June 2013 to 905 at the time of voting. This was a significant achievement when compared to the 2009 assembly polls: women (54.53 per cent) had lagged behind men by 4.6 per cent.
There could be a few bellwether constituencies, all where the BJP’s performance is to keep an eye out for.
If the BJP wins Pakur and Madhupur, it could indicate that that party has won despite the large number of Muslim voters in these constituencies; the BJP hopes multiple strong Muslim candidates could ensure its candidates’ victory.
Dumka and Barhait, the constituencies from which chief minister Hemant Soren is contesting from, could set the trend for the Santhal Pargana if the BJP’s candidates manage to defeat him.
Bhawanathpur and Chhatarpur fall in a region that has traditionally supported the Janata parties. BJP wins could terraform Palamu’s politics.
Former CM Madhu Kora and wife Geeta Kora are contesting from Majhgaon and Jagannathpur respectively. Initially thought to be winning, they were looking uncomfortable on election day, thanks to a strong fightback from BJP candidates.
Simdega, Torpa and Kolebira fall in the region controlled by the LWE organisation PLFI, which supported candidates of the Jharkhand Party. The BJP campaigns in these constituencies were trailing the JP’s till the PLFI’s alleged patron and Kolebira candidate Anosh Ekka was jailed for murder. The BJP now believes it can win all three.
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