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Congress, JMM strategise to win Jharkhand Assembly

NewsCongress, JMM strategise to win Jharkhand Assembly

NEW DELHI: The alliance plans to retain seats which it had won in the Assembly elections in 2019, with Hemant Soren as the face for the position of chief minister.

The two major alliance partners in Jharkhand, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and Congress party, have stipulated a strategy to try to retain the number of seats it had won in 2019 assembly elections. Sources suggest that both the parties will work together to show to the people how Hemant Soren’s arrest was a political witch-hunt. In total, the state has 81 Assembly seats.

With 41 being the magic number, the JMM- led alliance is confident that they would win 50 seats and on top of that retain the chief ministerial position for Hemant Soren. Congress thinks that the increased vote share of more than 6% they saw for the alliance (with JMM in Lok Sabha elections) is a precursor to the increased number of votes they would get in the upcoming Assembly elections, therefore setting the stage for the alliance to form the government. A top leader in the state said, “We have to understand an important thing here, BJP had conspired against our government, we didn’t let that happen. It was a case without any meaning, they kept him (Soren) away from the elections. Now, he IS come back to contest the elections.”

Another leader added, “Last time our share was 31 and later, two more legislators joined us so we will contest on at least 33 seats. There is one interesting thing that we should see here, and that is, all the five Lok Sabha seats the alliance won are Scheduled Tribe seats. The state has got 27 Scheduled Tribe Assembly seats. Last time, we were able to win around 24 out of all the ST seats, minimising the saffron camp’s foothold in ST areas, now it will be difficult for them to retain those seats. Our target would be to get all the ST seats which will boost our winning prospects.”

Although few analysts suggest that had Soren not jumped to reclaim his chief ministerial position and waited for the Assembly elections (let the current chief minister preside over the government affairs), there might have been increase in sympathy votes. However, a ruling alliance MP in the state said, “There will be no deficit in sympathy by him reclaiming the top post. There can be more votes from people over the incarceration of Soren. Because the actual mandate was for Hemant ji. Moreover, he is being set free by the court which is going to hurt BJP at the optics level.”

In the 2019 Assembly elections, the saffron camp was far ahead in terms of vote percentage (as compared to the alliance) but it couldn’t translate its popularity into seats. BJP had obtained more than 33 percent votes against the Congress-JMM alliance (pre-poll) where both the parties combined had clinched a little less vote share than BJP’s. However, with the right combination of JMM-Congress’ target voters, the duo was able to sail above the magic numbers of 41 (out of 81).

Congress had won 16 seats and JMM won 30 seats put of the 46 it had contested. A political observer in the state said, “The BJP is serious about Jharkhand elections, they know how important the state is for them to win. Because they know that they have bleak chances in Haryana and Maharashtra, their focus would be primarily in Jharkhand where they think can turn the tables around just like they did in Chattisgarh.”

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