J-K, Jharkhand poll results: BJP wins one, and a half
The BJP’s impressive run at the polls continued on Tuesday, with the party capturing power in Jharkhand and finishing second in its best-ever performance in Jammu and Kashmir, where voters delivered a highly fractured verdict.
The BJP won 25 seats — way short of its Mission 44+ — in the border state where the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the single largest party, winning 28 seats. But in the 87-member House, the BJP will be a key player in government formation with no single group getting a majority.
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) workers celebrate their party's win in Srinagar on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
Both J-K and Jharkhand voted simultaneously in five phases spread over a month, clocking impressive turnouts.
The J-K verdict is deeply polarised – with the Muslim-majority Valley decisively rejecting the BJP which did well in the Hindu-dominated areas of Jammu. The BJP’s aggressive campaigning may have worked against it as well. Analysts have attributed high voter turnout in the Valley to an anti-BJP sentiment, where people defied boycott call of separatists.
In the hung House, the ruling National Conference, which beat forecast of a wipe out, has 15 seats. Outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah lost from Sonawar, won the Beerwah seat by a slender margin of 910 votes. The Congress, which broke up with the NC ahead of the polls, won 12 seats and was voted second in another 19.
The big question though was the manner in which permutations would be worked out to form the government. In Delhi, BJP president Amit Shah made the party’s intentions clear. “The option of forming a BJP government is open. The option of supporting somebody is also open. The option of joining some government is also open,” he said.
The ball is in PDP’s court as it is the largest party. But who will it partner? There was speculation in Srinagar it may prefer the BJP – for the ruling dispensation in the state often prefers to be on the right side of the party at the Centre.
“I think we have to have Jammu aspirations onboard if we form the government. Our options for coalition is open,” PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said.
Two issues, however, can complicate matters. The mood in the Valley -- the PDP’s base -- is against the BJP, which drew a blank there. Ideologically, the two parties are far apart.
And, that is what the Congress is counting on. State chief Saifuddin Soz said they would consider if the PDP were to send an invite. Abdullah, too, lined up as a suitor, saying the NC would be willing to consider support, if Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP’s CM pick, would call him.
BJP Party workers celebrate the Jharkhand Assembly election results at the state party office in Ranchi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)
While the J-K equation will take some time settling, it is clear that the BJP and All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) will rule the mineral-rich state of Jharkhand.
For the first time since the state was carved out of Bihar 14 years ago, a pre-poll alliance has got a majority. The BJP-AJSU got 42 seats in 81-member House while the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, which led the ruling coalition, got 19. The Congress, which ended alliance with the JMM ahead of the polls, won six while its new allies, the RJD and JD (U), failed to open their account. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha won eight seats and others got six.
Stability was the big poll promise in the state that has been through nine governments and three stints of President’s rule in 14 years.
“Attribute it to Narendra Modi mania that the state is going to see its first majority government,” said BJP vice-president Raghuvar Das, a frontrunner for CM’s post. If appointed, Das will be the first non-tribal chief minister of Jharkhand, where tribals constitute 25% of the population. The party’s other claimant to the post, Arjun Munda, a tribal, lost.
Two former CMs, Babulal Marandi and Madhu Koda, lost. So did AJSU party chief Sudesh Mahato. Like Abdullah, outgoing CM Hemant Soren fought from two seats, but could only win Barhait seat.
Watch | Amit Shah: BJP set to form govt in Jharkhand, all options are open in J-K