Jharkhand is witnessing the emergence of a formidable anti-BJP alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Mocha, Congress, Jharkhand Vikas Mocha (Prajatantrik) and Rashtriya Janata Dal formalising their tie-up on Sunday, 24 March. This is the seat-sharing arrangement:
- Congress (7 seats): Ranchi, Khunti, Lohardaga, Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Dhanbad and Chatra
- JMM (4 seats): Dumka, Rajmahal, Giridih and Jamshedpur
- JVM-P (2 seats): Kodarma and Godda
- RJD (1 seat): Palamu
The alliance could inflict series damage to the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance’s tally, if surveys are anything to go by.
According to the survey by Poll Eyes conducted in February, the UPA is ahead in nine out of 14 seats in Jharkhand while the NDA is ahead in five.
This would be a fall of seven seats for the NDA, which won 12 out of 14 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
In terms of vote share, the survey predicts a huge jump of over 28 percent for the UPA compared to the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
As the survey was conducted before the alliance was finalised, there is a possibility that the UPA might end up doing even better than this.
If one goes seat-wise, the Poll Eyes’ survey says that the UPA has a decisive lead in at least five seats: Dumka, Godda, Chatra, Girdih and Hazaribagh.
On the other hand, the NDA has a decisive lead in only one seat: state capital Ranchi.
The UPA’s lead in Hazaribagh is particularly surprising since it is a seat that the BJP has lost only twice since 1989: the party lost the seat in 1991 and 2004 to the Communist Party of India. It isn’t clear if the CPI will be part of the Opposition alliance. The seat is currently held by Union minister Jayant Sinha.
The case of Godda is also interesting. Presently, the seat is held by BJP’s Nishikant Dubey and according to the survey, the BJP isn’t placed well in the seat. Last time, the Opposition vote had split between JVM(P)’s Pradeep Yadav and Congress’ Furkan Ansari, helping Dubey win. But with the alliance sealed and Godda falling in JVM(P)’s quota, the alliance is almost sure to win the seat.
Not surprisingly, the biggest lead for the UPA is in the JMM bastion Dumka. Here the UPA has a huge lead of 42 percent over the BJP. JMM supremo Shibu Soren has represented the Santhal tribal dominated seat eight times since 1980.
As of now, the other eight seats are witnessing a close contest between the NDA and the UPA. While UPA has an edge in Rajmahal and Kodarma, NDA is slightly ahead in Palamu and Khunti. The situation in Lohardaga, Singhbhum, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad is too close to call according to the survey.
If the UPA constituents are able to transfer their votes effectively, they could win the lion’s chunk of these eight close seats and cross double digits in the state. Jharkhand is likely to be one of the success stories for the Opposition in the Lok Sabha elections.
(Survey methodology: The survey was conducted in February in all Assembly segments across 10 states. 50 respondents were interviewed at different locations in each Assembly segment, using random stratified sampling.)