Elections – NDA wins in Jharkhand; makes inroads into J&K

The BJP-led NDA emerged with a clear majority in Jharkhand, emerging with two more than the 41 seats required to form a government in the 81-member House. Seeking to deliver on its message of providing a “stable government” in Jharkhand for the first time since the State’s formation in November 2000, and riding a Modi Wave, the BJP became the single largest party, winning 38 seats. Its ally, AJSU Party, got five seats.

However, the BJP’s mood was darkened by the defeat of Arjun Munda, its most important leader in the State—a three-time-CM who was a frontrunner to become Chief Minister again.

The fall of big names was a prominent theme of the day. Former Chief Minister Madhu Kora lost, so did State’s first Chief Minister Babulal Marandi

The JMM seemed to hold its own despite the assault by the BJP, managing to secure 18 seats—the same number as it had won in 2009 for itself.

The BJP’s gains primarily came from losses made by the Congress, JVM-P and the RJD. While the Congress went from 13 seats in 2009 to seven, Babulal Marandi’s JVM-P shed four seats from its 2009 tally of 11. The RJD drew a blank; it had five legislators in the outgoing Assembly.

Raghuvar Das was elected as the Chief Minister—he is the first non-tribal to become the Chief Minister of the State.

J&K:  For the third time in a row, voters in Jammu and Kashmir have thrown up a hung Assembly with no party in sight of the magic figure of 44 in the 87-member House. The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the single largest party bagging 28 seats, its highest ever tally since it was formed in 1999.

Bharatiya Janata Party won 25 seats, its best ever performance in the State.  The BJP also got a Muslim elected from a Hindu majority constituency of Rajouri, a feat of sorts. The National Conference and the Congress got 15 and 12 seats, respectively.

While the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley has clearly thrown its weight behind the PDP, the Hindu-dominated Jammu region has gone with the BJP. This is likely to sharpen the existing divide between the two regions. While the ideological commitments of Kashmir-centric parties—the PDP and the NC—are diametrically opposite, the given political arithmetic threw the chessboard quite open, leaving room for manoeuvring for all parties.

With the voters returning a hung Assembly and no consensus between the elected parties to form a government, Governor’s rule was imposed in the State.

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