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2019 Lok Sabha elections – The Grand Alliance of Jharkhand

February 12, 2019

Mahagathbandhan

Unlike Uttar Pradesh, all is well for the Congress and Mahagathbandhan in Bihar and Jharkhand. The confusion in the non-BJP camp is partly due to the lack of appreciation at this time, while the contrasting picture of synergy among them in Bihar and Jharkhand is driven by an acknowledgement of each other’s mutual interests.

There is no denying the fact that state-level alliances will hold the key in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. In Uttar Pradesh, the alliance between the Samajwadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party has unsettled the BJP, while the Congress's efforts to assert its own place by introducing Priyanka Gandhi Vadra as a front-line campaigner has opened up the field to further possibilities of political realignment.

It is important to note that Jharkhand would be entering in the Vidhan Sabha elections late this year. The grand alliance in Jharkhand is, therefore, not only eyeing on the upcoming Lok Sabha elections but also the Legislative Assembly elections to be held late this year. The Congress alliance with three of the regional parties in the state seems to be an enduring one.

The state of Jharkhand sends 14 MPs to the Lok Sabha. Narendra Modi-led BJP swept 12 of the seats in the state in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. However, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha could get only two seats.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Jharkhand Vikas Morcha- Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and Rashtriya Janta Dal have joined hands with the Congress in the state. The parties have already finalised the seat-sharing agreement. The agreement gives seven seats to the Congress, four to the JMM, two to the JVP and one to the RJD. In turn, JMM will be provided with the larger number of seats in the assembly elections.

The BJP emerged as the single largest party with 31% vote- share in 2014 Vidhan Sabha elections. But what is interesting is that the parties involved in the new alliance constituted 47% vote-share collectively. What makes this alliance potent is that the parties have synergy among them, with ground reports indicating that the workers of the four parties have developed a certain level of comfort with one another.

Collectively, they command over all the regions of the state and appeal to every social group on the ground. In this tribal-dominated state, former chief minister Shibu Soren heads the JMM, while the first chief minister of Jharkhand, Babulal Marandi (previously with the BJP) heads the JVM. As much as one-third of the state population here is tribal, and the alliance is expected to reach out to this section.

This Mahagathbandhan has both the potential and ability to give a shocker in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The grand alliance has every reason to do so as they look back to the polling history in the state. The grand alliance of the Congress, the JMM, the RJD and the CPI swept all the seats of the state except one in the Lok Sabha elections 2004. The BJP had managed to win that one seat only.

Although, the alliances are suitable to the arithmetic calculations of vote-share in the state they are very much vulnerable to the scathing attacks- like Narendra has already launched one. Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed it a Mahamilavat or grand adulteration. Mr. Modi called for a Mazboot (strong) instead of the Majboor (vulnerable) government

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Disclaimer: The views expressed are of those of the author and do not represent the views of Elections.in.

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