Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir and Jharkhand will be held in five phases between November 25 and December 20; votes will be counted on December 23. BJP here is also banking on Modi waves and their whole campaign will be around Narendra Modi, as if they too like Maharashtra have no face in these two states to promote. The BJP has not projected a ‘face’ in Jharkhand, but it has indicated a non-tribal may become the chief minister if party gets the majority. Every CM in the state has been a tribal. After an emphatic poll victory in Haryana and Maharashtra Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party hopes to show a similar feat in Jharkhand. Riding high on the Modi wave in the state this winter, the party claims to form a government of its own. From forming an alliance with All Jharkhand Student Union party to tribal issues, local leaders are also losing their hold in decision making. The BJP has high stakes in these polls; it hopes to form a majority government in Jharkhand and want to emerge as a strong player in J-K and retain all three assembly seats in Delhi which were vacated by the MLAs who upgraded to MPs.
The Congress is hard pressed to retain Jharkhand and J&K after losing Maharashtra and Haryana to the Modi-led BJP. Its alliance with the National Conference (NC) in J&K broke up ahead of the elections. There is also no clarity on whether it will go along with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in the tribal state. Losses in J&K and Jharkhand would mean further marginalisation for India’s grand old party, barely months after it was reduced to just 44 seats in the Lok Sabha.
The ruling NC heads into the polls reluctantly, having asked for a deferment owing to floods that devastated the state. The opposition Peoples Democratic Party would believe time is ripe to oust the NC. The BJP too would rate its chances bright, particularly after a strong showing in the parliamentary polls. The PDP and the BJP won three Lok Sabha seats each, blanking out the NC and the Congress. The BJP would be hopeful of a better performance in Jammu and Buddhist-dominated Ladakh, but the Valley must be a priority to achieve the majority mark of 44 in the 87-member assembly. Hobbled by the floods, the NC would also face heat over street agitations, killing of youth, unemployment and even charges of corruption in the state’s cricket association as the elections approach.
The hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru too is expected to cast an emotive shadow on the elections. The JMM-led alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal has been in power for the last one-and-a-half years in Jharkhand, where the BJP must be fancying its chances of regaining power. In parliamentary polls earlier this year, the BJP won 12 out of the state’s 14 seats. Modi had addressed nine rallies in Jharkhand ahead of the national elections and the state party unit, which has tasted power intermittently, would be hoping for an encore. The BJP’s performance in the Lok Sabha elections, computed across the state’s 81 assembly seats, shows an impressive lead in 56 (70 per cent) out of 81 seats with second position in 23 seats. Only in the remaining two seats, the party stands third. The majority mark is 41.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has a massive edge in Jharkhand due to the Narendra Modi wave that helped it win the assembly elections in Haryana and Maharashtra, political observers say. After 2004 and 2009, this will be the third assembly election in Jharkhand, which has thrown up fractured mandates and seen political instability under coalition rules since its creation in 2000. No party has ever got a majority in the tribal state that has seen nine different governments and President’s rule on three occasions. Jharkhand’s voters hope the elections will bring relief from a string of coalition governments and political instability since the state was created in 2000. Modi will romp BJP home in Jharkhand and considering LS performance in J&K, will be interesting if BJP amass the numbers to form its government in the state. It will be historic.