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What’s at stake in Jharkhand for key players

The Jharkhand results are crucial for the BJP in the middle of protest against CAA across the country. BJP started its campaign focused on development and by the last phase it completely shifted towards national issues such as CAB, NRC and Ram Temple. Right from PM Modi to Yogi Aditya Nath and other senior leaders, BJP spoke largely regarding the issues of CAB-NRC.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Dec 23, 2019, 06.00 AM IST
Voters stand in a queue displaying their voting card as they wait to cast their votes during the third phase of Jharkhand Assembly elections, in Ranchi.
As counting for 81 assembly seats election in Jharkhand begins today, here is a quick look of what’s at stake for key players in the battlefield.

Raghubar Das
It’s more of a personal battle for chief minister Raghubar Das rather than the party. He has been facing a lot of criticism from local BJP leaders for ignoring the party and running the government on his own whims and fancies. Senior party leader Saryu Roy broke away from the BJP to fight against chief minister Raghubar Das from Jamshedpur east constituency. Jameshedput East is a constituency, Das has been winning since 1995, when it was part of united Bihar. For the first time, Das is facing a real challenger in Roy from the seat and it has become a prestige battle for him this time. A loss would further raise voices within the party against his leadership.

The result of assembly elections are crucial for the BJP in the middle of protest against CAA across the country. BJP started its campaign focused on development and by the last phase it completely shifted towards national issues such as CAB, NRC and Ram Temple. Right from PM Modi, home minister Amit Shah to Yogi Aditya Nath and other senior leaders, the party spoke largely regarding the issues of CAB-NRC and tried to put forward a clear view on the subject. At a time when there are nationwide protests going on against the CAB, a victory for BJP would be crucial. The party would take it as a stamp of approval for national policies and would plan accordingly after wards. This would also come as a major boost for the party just before Delhi assembly elections where it is trying to dethrone AAP government.

On the other hand a loss would mean that party would lose fifth government in last one year after Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Hemant Soren

Like Raghubar Das it is also a personal battle for JMM president Hemant Soren as he is trying to come out from the shadow of his father and party founder Shibu Soren. Soren toured the state twice during election campaign in order to establish a communication with the voters. He has tried to keep the election on local issues and invested more in personal connect with the voters of the state. In 2014, is party won 19 seats, which is the highest ever won by JMM ever since the formation of the state. While JMM’s strength is 26 per cent tribal voters of the state, during his campaign he has tried to reach out to all sections of the people of Jharkhand. The challenge before him is to translate this outreach in electoral victory and increase its overall tally from 19. If he is able to do so, he would undoubtedly become a strong regional player of the state. Any opposition government formation would depend on how much seats JMM wins in the alliance from 43 seats it is contesting across the state.

Congress which has never won more than 14 seats (2009) in the last three elections of the state depends very much on the alliance partners JMM and RJD. For the first time JMM, Congress and RJD got united for assembly election in order to stop division of anti-BJP votes. The party is hoping that alliance vote will transfer among each other and the party could achieve more than 14 seats in the elections. If it is able to do that, it would have much say in the upcoming opposition government in case such a scenario comes up after result. A poor performance would force the party to rethink its strategy in a state where it has remained a distant third player. If the alliance wins, Congress would try to show it as a national gain against policies of the BJP government and would announce it as a mandate against central leadership of BJP.

Sudesh Mahto
The challenge before AJSU chief Sudesh Mahto is to establish the party as a strong regional force in the state. His party is trying hard to come out of the shadow of the BJP with which it had contested 2014 assembly elections and won five out of eight seats. Mahto wants to be the king maker in the next government and AJSU is contesting on 53 seats across the state. However much would depend upon his own performance in Silli assembly seat, which he has lost twice since 2014.

Babulal Marandi
Marandi’s party JVM was part of the UPA alliance in 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However an agreement over seat sharing couldn’t be reached and he decided to fight independently. However he is caught in a strong fight in Dhanwar assembly seat between the BJP and CPI (ML). JVM’s fate would depend on how much seats the party could win. Its best performance is 11 seats in 2009 assembly elections.

Saryu Roy
The firebrand ex-BJP leader and minister in Raghubar Das cabinet revolted against the party and chief minister and fought from Jamshedpur East constituency. It’s a personal battle for Roy too, who opposed several decisions by Raghubar Das and openly defied the party line in the past. Post his elections, he also campaigned for opposition alliance in several constituencies to ensure BJP’s loss. His political fortune hinges on both his personal performance as well as oppostion’s position in the results.
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