NEW DELHI :
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is hoping to create history by returning to power for a consecutive term in Jharkhand as counting of votes takes place on Monday. However, the plan of the ruling party could face a challenge as exit polls on Friday predicted an electoral edge for the alliance of Congress and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).
Given the exit poll predictions and the political history of the state which saw a series of unstable governments prior to the previous assembly elections, there is speculation if Jharkhand, on the lines of Haryana last month, could give a hung mandate. Interestingly, Raghubar Das, the state's first non-tribal chief minister is also the first leader ever in Jharkhand to complete a full term in office.
Prior to Das' appointment to the top post in 2014, the state saw political instability and frequent change of governments—nine in the 14 years since it was carved out of Bihar in 2000. It would be interesting to see if the state would give a decisive or hung mandate on Monday.
BJP had made history in 2014 after it became the single largest party winning 37 out of the 81 assembly seats. It was able to form government in the state with the help of All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU). The performance of BJP in 2014 was also significant because Congress and JMM were unable to reach an agreement in the state.
The outcome of the assembly elections could be a comment on the performance of chief minister Raghubar Das who has completed five years in power in the state. Although BJP had performed well in the 2019 general elections, anti-incumbency of the sitting government could play a decisive role in the outcome of the results.
The performance of BJP in the state could also reflect on National Democratic Alliance (NDA) as AJSU recently walked out of the ruling alliance. The BJP had suffered a setback in Maharashtra recently after long time ally Shiv Sena walked out of NDA because of lack of understanding over power sharing formula.
For Congress-JMM alliance, it would be a key test of whether the pre-poll alliance has worked, and whether they have been able to join forces on the ground. The outcome of the election will also have an impact on the Grand Alliance's pitch in bordering state of Bihar which goes to polls next year.
Catch all the live updates for Jharkhand Assembly results here