New Delhi, December 23 (India Today) – As counting data showed Jharkhand Mukti Morcha party and its allies winning the Jharkhand assembly election, BJP’s Amit Shah said the party respects the mandate given by the people of Jharkhand.
Conceding loss in the assembly polls, Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Monday said it was his defeat, not of the BJP.
With 81 seats up for grabs in the Jharkhand assembly, a party or alliance needs 41 seats for a majority.
The JMM has won four seats and is leading in 25 others, while its alliance partner Congress has clinched 3 and is ahead in 12 more. Another alliance constituent Lalu Prasad’s RJD is leading in one.
The BJP, which ploughed a lonely furrow in the elections, has won four seats and its candidates are leading in 22 places. These numbers fall in the ranges predicted by an India Today-Axis My India exit poll.
If the results and current trends hold, the JMM- Congress-RJD coalition will end up bagging 45 seats, four more than required for a simple majority.
Only eight of the 81 races have been called, but the general trend has held for hours.
The picture gets gloomier for the BJP. Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das was trailing an independent, Saryu Roy, in Jamshedpur East by over 10,000 votes.
A BJP rebel, Roy was once in Das’s cabinet.
Hemant Soren, the prospective chief minister of the opposition alliance, was leading in both Barhait and Dumka.
Soren claimed victory at a press conference that began in Ranchi shortly before 5 pm. He had to pause during his statement as fireworks went off in the background.
The All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) party, a state government partner which contested the polls alone, had three leads, according to the Election Commission.
The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, led by former Chief Minister Babulal Marandi, was leading in three seats.
Marandi was leading in Dhanwar by nearly 21,000 votes.
Earlier, Congress leader RPN Singh said his party was in touch with the leadership of the JVM. Sources said the Congress was also in touch with two AJSU members.
Sources said the BJP high command, too, had contacted the leaders of the JVM and the AJSU.
Jharkhand’s staggered state election was held in five phases between November 30 and December 20.
It was a key test for both the BJP — which has seen its political footprint in the Hindi heartland shrink — and the Congress.
A loss — if confirmed by final results — would be particularly painful for the BJP at a time when the central government is under pressure due to widespread protests against two controversial policies on citizenship and the naturalisation of illegal immigrants.