Former Chief Minister and JVM Chief Babulal Marandi watching election results on television on May 23
Ranchi: Mahagathbandhan leaders lost a golden opportunity to defeat the Bhartiya Janata Party in Jharkhand. And it was their overconfidence arising due to their ‘arithmetic on paper’ that made them make several mistakes to lose the election at a time when the common man was unhappy with CM Raghubar Das led BJP government in the state.
A little bit of probing into the Mahagathbandhan parties, one would realise that presently Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Jharkhand Vikash Morcha don’t have strong cadre base in Jharkhand. Jharkhand Mukhti Morcha (JMM) was the only gatbandhan party with a substantial cadre base (has 18 MLAs in the state), however, keeping assembly election in mind, JMM let Congress play the role of elder brother and when seat sharing took place, Congress got the maximum share — 7 out of 14 seats. But Congress had to struggle to field eligible candidates in the seven Lok Sabha seats. They even borrowed Kirti Azad from Darbhanga. And fielded Khunti and Hazaribagh candidates at the eleventh hour.
RJD which has been wiped off from Bihar, post results, had its doom scripted right from the beginning, even before polls in Jharkhand. RJD’s state chief Annapurna Devi left the party to become BJP’s candidate from Koderma. Despite Lalu Prasad Yadav’s party having no base in Jharkhand ever since the creation of Jharkhand, it too bargained for two seats in Mahagathbandhan. It got one from Palamu, but it fought on Chatra seat too, and lost both the seats.
JVM, formed in 2006 and led by Babulal Marandi, Jharkhand’s first Chief Minister, has been losing its MLA and leaders to BJP and when it became part of the gathbandhan, it has also remained close to its party base. But JVM got two seats to contest, and both the seats were of choice — Koderma and Godda. At both the seats, Mahagathbandhan ignored 2014’s runner ups — Rajkumar Yadav and Furqan Ansari and handed over the seats to JVM, which lost on both the seats.
“Since the formation of the alliance, the gathbandhan partners were making every strategy keeping forthcoming assembly polls in mind, and not the immediate challenge BJP had given them in the form of Lok Sabha election. Which ultimately cause them heavy loss,” said senior journalist Kamal Chaparia.
Another major mistake of the Mahagathbandhan was to exclude the Left in Jharkhand. At least on two seats – Koderma and Hazaribagh, communist parties were strong but were not considered for the alliance. Also, the candidates fielded by the Mahagathbandhan candidate were not strong enough to even give a fight to the BJP.
Jharkhand has two MLAs from the Left parties but was being denied any seats. However, despite JVM also having only two MLAs, managed to get two MP seats to contest from, but Left did not get a single one. RJD also despite having no MLA, got to fight from two seats as well. This alienated the Left party further.
The election result also indicated that Mahagathbandhan parties failed to consolidate the left voters. All they got were the minority and tribal votes in Jharkhand. They have no strategy to hold back even the schedule caste voters, nor do they have any penetration into backward caste votes, leave aside the upper caste Hindu votes. The outcome was dismal, even JMM chief Shibu Soren could not save his seat, from the tribal-dominated Dumka seat.
The winning margin of BJP candidates is also to ponder upon. Mahagathbandhan candidates got marginally higher votes in comparison to what they got in 2014 from their respective seats, but BJP got much higher votes, which means, that the gathbandhan parties have to work hard to dent into BJP votes.
With Jharkhand’s assembly polls being scheduled within the next six months, the opposition needs to put its act into place. Babulal Marandi, while speaking to eNewsroom on May 23 maintained that they will fight in the upcoming assembly together, but if alliances are made without taking the ground reality into account, the result will not get any better.