Three ex-CMs bite the dust

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday registered its best-ever performance in Jharkhand, with the alliance it led getting an absolute majority, having won 42 out of the 81 Assembly seats in the state.

This is the first time since the state came into being in November 2000 that a political party or alliance has crossed the halfway mark. The ruling party Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) salvaged some pride, increasing its tally from 18 in 2009 to 19, despite having severed ties with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren lost from his bastion in Dumka, but managed to scrape through in Barhet, the second constituency in neighbouring Sahebganj district, from where he was in the fray. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM), headed by Babulal Marandi, won eight seats, although Marandi himself lost from both Giridih and Dhanwar—a severe setback for the state’s first chief minister. However, it was the Congress-led alliance which experienced the worst drubbing—being unable to get into double digits in a state it ruled in alliance with the JMM and the RJD till recently.

The elections, held in five phases and spread over a month, saw three former chief ministers biting the dust. The most surprising defeat was that of senior BJP leader Arjun Munda from his traditional seat Kharsawan. The tribal leader, who served as chief minister thrice between 2003 and 2013, lost in a seat he had been representing since 1995. The defeat came at a time when many BJP candidates romped home riding the Modi wave. The third was Madhu Koda, the former chief minister slapped with corruption charges, who lost from Majhgaon in Chaibasa.
Interestingly, his wife Geeta Koda held her husband's citadel—Jagannathpur, the seat represented by Madhu Koda thrice.

Geeta won the election on a ticket from a little-known outfit—the Jai Bharat Samanta Party. Yet another surprise defeat was that of former deputy chief minister and All Jharkhand Students Union president Sudesh Mahto from Silli.

The AJSU was in alliance with the BJP, along with the Ram Vilas Paswan-headed LJP.

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