BJP bites the dust as Soren-led alliance wins Jharkhand polls

Hemant Soren
JMM leader Hemant Soren addresses a press conference as the opposition alliance lead in the Jharkhand Assembly election results, in Ranchi | PTI Photo

Jharkhand slipped out from the BJP’s clutch as the JMM-led alliance received the popular mandate in the recently held assembly elections, the results of which were declared on Monday (December 23). Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s Hemant Soren is set to be the next chief minister of the state.

The JMM-Congress-RJD alliance secured a total of 47 seats (JMM 30, Congress 16, RJD 1), whereas the ruling BJP won 25. The AJSU won two seats, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) three seats, and CPI(ML)(Liberation), NCP and two Independents won one each. The half-way mark in the 81-seat assembly is 41.

In another jolt to the BJP, the party’s sitting chief minister Raghubar Das conceded defeat to Independent candidate Saryu Rai in Jamshedpur East by a margin of over 15,833 votes. In contrast, JMM’s chief ministerial candidate Hemant Soren won from Barhait constituency by defeating BJP’s Simon Malto by a margin of 25,740 votes.

As the trends indicated an imminent defeat of the BJP, Das tendered his resignation as the chief minister. “I met Governor Droupadi Murmu and submitted my resignation. The governor asked me to be caretaker CM till the new government is formed,” Das told reporters after coming out of the Raj Bhavan.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Soren for the victory and extended his best wishes to the combine. In a tweet, Modi said his party would continue raising people-centric issues.

Jharkhand

“I thank the people of Jharkhand for having given the BJP 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,” the tweet read.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said his party accepts mandate given by the people of Jharkhand. “We express our heartfelt gratitude to the people for the opportunity given to BJP to serve the state for 5 years. The BJP will remain committed to the development of the state continuously. Congratulations to all the workers for their tireless hard work,” he said in a tweet.

Hemant Soren, son of Jharkhand architect Shibu Soren and who is set to take up the reins of the state for a second term, had served in the top post for just 14 months since July 15 2013. He was also the youngest chief minister of the state back then.

Also read | With Jharkhand loss, BJP footprint shrinks to half from 2017 peak

“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,” Soren said as the results started pouring in.

Meanwhile, a host of opposition leaders congratulated Soren and linked the mandate to the amended Citizenship law and the proposed National Register of Citizens (NRC), saying people have demolished “arrogance” of the BJP. In contrast, the BJP attributed its defeat to local issues and “internal strife” in the state.

On being asked whether the NRC will be implemented in Jharkhand, Soren said, “We will take a decision keeping in mind the interest of the state.”

Referring to the new law, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra said the people want to hear from the government on employment, bread, water, forest, land, farming and trade, but the BJP tried its best to “divide the people to hide its failed politics”.

With the poll outcome clearly giving a majority for the Soren-led alliance, Congress leader P Chidambaram said the BJP is not unbeatable and urged opposition parties to join forces against the ruling saffron party. The Sharad Pawar-led NCP said people of Jharkhand have demolished the “arrogance” of Modi and the saffron party president Shah.

The Shiv Sena, which recently severed ties with the BJP, said the Jharkhand polls have shown that people are not buying the saffron party’s politics based on sentimental issues like the NRC. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the results appeared to be a verdict against the NRC and the CAA, and reflected the public reaction to the “arrogance” of the BJP.

(With inputs from agencies)

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