Another son rises in east: Hemant Soren is all set to be the next
RANCHI/ NEW DELHI: Hemant Soren is all set to be the next chief minister of Jharkhand, with the grand-alliance led by JMM winning a majority in the Jharkhand Assembly election.
The JMM-Congress-RJD combine bagged 47 out of 81 assembly seats in Jharkhand where elections were held in five phases. As per the final results announced by the Election Commission on Monday, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha emerged as the single largest party winning 30 seats. JMM’s allies the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) bagged 16 and one seats respectively. The Hemant Soren led alliance wrested power from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which could win just 25 seats.
The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), a former ally of the BJP, bagged two seats, while Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) was victorious in three constituencies. The Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) (Liberation) and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) won one seat each. Two independent candidates were also elected. With the JMM-Congress-RJD combine crossing the majority mark of 41, Hemant Soren is set to be the Chief Minister of Jharkhand for the second time.
In a major embarrassment for the BJP, Raghubar Das suffered defeat in Jamshedpur East constituency. Das, a non-tribal leader of a tribal-dominated state, then resigned as Chief Minister. Interestingly, the BJP leader has been winning this seat since 1995. Besides Das, outgoing Jharkhand Assembly Speaker Dinesh Oraon also lost the Sisai assembly seat by nearly 30,000 votes. The saffron party seems to have paid the price for experimenting with a non-tribal as the Chief Minister, where tribals have a sizable population.
Hemant Soren said it was the people’s sufferings under the BJP government which has led to the massive win of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Congress alliance in the state. As instances, he cited the demonetisation and the BJP’s comments about rolling out National Registry of Citizens across the country, insisting thatnot was “not about Muslims”.
When Hemant Soren campaigned to win consecutive mandate for his government in 2014, the political observers said he was trying to come out of the shadow of his father, Shibu Soren, the eternal agitator of Jharkhand politics. Hemant Soren lost his Dumka seat as well as the government in Jharkhand.
BJP leader Raghubar Das conceded defeat in the Jharkhand assembly elections on Monday as he lost not just the chief minister’s chair but also his MLA seat. The coalition led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and also comprising the Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) cleared the majority mark of 41 in the 81-member assembly of the tribal-dominated state.
“People are dying. So many died while standing in queues during the demonetisation. For your (the BJP’s) laws, people are dying, then someone has to take responsibility. This is not about the Muslims. Civilians have to stand in queue again to prove they are Indians. There are so many farmers. Will they earn a living or get papers?” he told as the BJP conceded defeat in the assembly elections.
“Today a new chapter will begin for this state. I want to assure everyone that their hopes will not be broken irrespective of their caste, creed, religion and profession,” Hemant Soren later said at a press conference that was interrupted by a salvo of firecrackers set off by supporters.
The results come as another setback for the BJP that lost Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh to the Congress last year, while Maharashtra slipped out of its hands last month after a dispute with ally Shiv Sena over their power-sharing arrangement.
During its stunning victory in the parliamentary polls this year, the saffron party had bagged 11 out of Jharkhand’s 14 Lok Sabha constituencies. Raghubar Das lost his Jamshedpur (East) seat to former cabinet colleague and BJP rebel Saryu Roy, who contested as an independent candidate.
“This will be my defeat, not the BJP’s,” Das, the first Jharkhand chief minister to complete a full five-year term leading a majority government, said at a press conference. He had also previously won the Jamshedpur (East) constituency five consecutive times.
Analysts said, apart from anti-incumbency and his government’s controversial land rights policies, Das being a non-tribal pick of Narendra Modi and Amit Shah – in a larger attempt to create alternative power structures in states – may have gone against him.
Modi and Shah had campaigned extensively in the state, often bringing up national themes such as the Supreme Court decision for a Ram temple to be built in Ayodhya following a decades-long religious-political dispute, the BJP-led Centre stripping Jammu and Kashmir of its special status and making contentious changes to India’s Citizenship Act that has sparked protests across the country.
In the 2014 state elections, the BJP had won 37 seats while ally All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU) won five. The Congress was reduced to just six seats. This time the BJP fought the elections on its own after failing to come to an agreement over sharing of seats with the AJSU.Under a pre-poll arrangement, the JMM had the lion’s share of 43 constituencies, while the Congress fielded nominees in 31.
PM Modi tweeted, “I thank the people of Jharkhand for having given @BJP4India the opportunity to serve the state for many years. I also applaud the hardworking Party Karyakartas for their efforts. We will continue serving the state and raising people-centric issues in the times to come”.
(Bureau Report With Agency Inputs )