Jharkhand assembly polls: All eyes on exit polls for next CM
Exit polls, often proved unreliable in India, are seen as indicators to which party will form the government.Updated: Dec 20, 2019 17:57 IST
The five-phase assembly election in Jharkhand concluded on Friday after voting for the final phase ended in the 16 of the constituencies in the state.
All eyes will now be on exit polls, which will be aired by television news channels soon after the voting ends in all the constituencies. Exit polls, often proved unreliable in India, are seen as indicators to which party will form the government.
They are based on responses of people who have just cast their votes. Pollsters predict the results much before the actual counting of votes, assuming that the voters have correctly revealed their choice.
Results of elections in India can be extremely hard to predict and there have been instances where pollsters have been spectacularly off the mark.
At least four exit polls have gone wrong.
Most of these polls overrated the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA’s) win in the 1999 elections, which were forced by an early collapse of the government led by the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
They had predicted the NDA will get overwhelming 315-plus seats but it actually won 296.
The ruling BJP is looking to keep Jharkhand in its kitty after it swept the Lok Sabha elections and key states this year on the back of Narendra Modi’s popularity earlier this year. It had set itself a target of winning more than 65 seats in the 81-member assembly.
The party had decided to go alone in the assembly elections. It was a first since the state came into being as it had fought the previous three—in 2005, 2009 and 2014—in a pre-poll pact with one party or the other.
The BJP had contested 72 of the 81 seats in the state, the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party fought eight while Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) got a single seat in 2014. It won 37 seats that year and formed the government with the support of five candidates of the AJSU Party.
This year, the scenario reversed for the BJP as compared to the 2014 polls with the spilt in the NDA even as the alliance of three opposition parties — the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) — fought together.
“In 2014, the BJP-AJSU combine managed to get a simple majority. But the situation in 2019 could severely dent BJP’s prospects as the JMM, Congress and RJD together have weaved an alliance that is functioning smoothly,” LK Kundan, political observer and associate professor of political science at Ranchi University, said.
Top BJP leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the party’s executive president JP Nadda, Union home minister Amit Shah, defence minister Rajnath Singh, Union road, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari, Union minister Smriti Irani and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath, among others, campaigned in the state.
Chief minister Raghubar Das also canvassed extensively for his party.
Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi addressed half a dozen rallies in the state, while party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi held a rally on Wednesday.
The JMM’s working president Hemant Soren and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, too, addressed several rallies.
The BJP spoke of development in its electoral campaigns during the first three phases. Later, it over issues such as Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the Ram temple and Article 370.
The JMM, Congress and RJD focused on issues such as tribal land rights, job loss, hunger deaths and price rise.
The voting in five-phased election started on November 30. The counting of votes will take place on December 23.