Jharkhand Assembly Election: 5 phase polls from Nov 30

Election Commission sets December 23 as counting day

Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das' term is set to end on January 5. PTI file photo

Jharkhand will go to Assembly polls in five phases from November 30 in which the ruling BJP will be locked in an intense electoral battle with a resurgent Opposition for supremacy in the tribal-dominated state.

The polling to the 81-member Assembly will be held on November 30 (13 seats), December 7 (20), December 12 (17), December 16 (15) and December 20 (16) while the counting of votes will be held on December 23, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told a press conference.

In 2009 and 2014 too, the polls were held in five phases in the naxal-infested state. Arora said 19 districts in the state are naxal affected, including 13 worst affected and the Election Commission factored these while finalising the schedule.

The Jharkhand edition of the polls comes close on the heels of the elections in Maharashtra and Haryana where the ruling BJP could not repeat its spectacular performance in Lok Sabha elections in April-May and the results there emboldened the Opposition by the numbers. The announcement also ended speculation that Delhi Assembly polls may be clubbed with Jharkhand elections as the AAP suspected.

Chief Minister Raghubar Das, the first to complete a term of five years since Jharkhand's formation in 2000, and the BJP are hoping to improve its 2014 performance and secure majority on its own this time while the main Opposition parties JMM and Congress seek to overthrow the saffron party rule.

In 2014, BJP had won 35 seats and its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) had won three seats. While it fell short of majority, Das managed to wean away six out of eight MLAs of the JVM(P) to cross the majority mark.

Shibu Soren and Hemant Soren-led JMM had won 17 seats and Congress six in the polls. This time, both the parties have stitched an alliance and are trying to bring together parties like JVM(P) and RJD among others to its fold.

BJP hopes that it will be able to repeat the Lok Sabha election performance when it won 11 out of 14 seats with a 51.61% votes. AJSU, Congress and JMM won one seat each.

However, Opposition parties are upbeat after the recent Assembly elections in which the BJP could not repeat its Lok Sabha record. In Maharashtra, the BJP-Shiv Sena combine got a reduced mandate and is still bickering over government formation while in Haryana, it fell short of majority though it managed to cobble up a government with the help of JJP.

With BJP likely to go with Das, a non-tribal face, Hemant Soren is likely to be the Opposition's Chief Ministerial candidate.

JHARKHAND POLLS AT A GLANCE

** Keen fight in cards in Jharkhand
** BJP hopes to repeat 2019 Lok Sabha election results
** Congress, JMM to fight together. Attempts to cobble up a formidable opposition alliance on. RJD, JVM(P) may also be roped in 
along with others
** Raghubar Das government first to complete five years in power since Jharkhand's formation in 2000
** Babulal Marandi, Arjun Munda (twice), Shibu Soren (twice), Madhu Koda and Hemant Soren were Chief Ministers between 
2000 and 2014
** Raghubar Das is first non-tribal to be Jharkhand Chief Minister

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