NEW DELHI: The Election Commission on Friday announced polls to the Jharkhand assembly with voting scheduled between November 30 and December 20. Results will be declared on December 23.
The battle will be keenly watched with BJP’s sub-par showing in the recently concluded elections in Haryana and Maharashtra providing hope to the opposition camp that the
wave which swept the 2019 Lok Sabha polls can give way to local issues in assembly elections.
Congress has quickly decided to keep its alliance with
(JMM), agreeing to a junior partner position. BJP, on the other hand, will lead the fight to defend the
as its partner.
The alliance had clicked in the Lok Sabha polls, winning 12 out of 14 seats in the state, defying estimates that incumbency of the state government might hurt BJP in the national polls.
Though state polls are largely a verdict on the incumbent and regional and local issues, Jharkhand will pose a key test for BJP to try and establish that the jolts in Maharashtra and Haryana were aberrations and its mojo isn’t dented.
Like in the two states, BJP had won Jharkhand in 2014 in the aftermath of Prime Minister Narendra Modi leading BJP to an unexpected full majority. Ensuring the 2014 election was not a fluke and that BJP is now well established as a party of governance will be a challenge, an important aspect being the government being led by a non-tribal.
Raghubar Das has, however, sought to get around this handicap by promoting welfare programmes, such as initiatives for financial inclusion of women’s groups and increased access to banking. Asked why assembly polls in Delhi, due in February, were not scheduled along with Jharkhand, the EC said no such plan had been under consideration. “If the Delhi CM says he wants elections immediately, we will do it because the commitment of forces in Delhi will be far less compared to a bigger state. But that is for the CM to decide,” CEC Sunil Arora said.