JMM, Congress seal deal for Jharkhand Assembly Polls

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) sealed the deal for Jharkhand Assembly elections on Friday. Former chief minister Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) and the Left parties are not part of the alliance stitched by the non-BJP parties in the tribal-dominated state.

As per the pact arrived in Ranchi and announced at the Press Club, the JMM will contest 43 seats while the RJD seven. The Congress will field its candidates in the remaining 31 constituencies for the 81-member Jharkhand Assembly. “Former chief minister and working president of the JMM, Hemant Soren will be the chief ministerial candidate of the Grand Alliance, also called Mahagathbandhan,” announced senior Congress leader RPN Singh, who is also in-charge of Jharkhand Affairs.

Flanked by Hemant Soren and Jharkhand Congress president Rameshwar Oraon, Singh said, “Since the seat-sharing agreement has been reached for all the 81 constituencies, there will be no friendly fight on any of the seats.”

The move is significant in the sense that JMM and Congress had contested the 2014 Assembly polls separately and suffered drubbing at the hands of BJP-led NDA. While the JMM got 20.4% and won 19 seats, the Congress fetched 10.5% votes and could win merely seven seats in the last Assembly poll.

The BJP, however, had a cakewalk with a divided Opposition. It won 37 seats out of 81 constituencies by polling 31.3% votes. Its alliance partner AJSU (All Jharkhand Students’ Union) got merely 3.5% votes, but won five seats.

Just like 2014, Jharkhand will have a five-phase poll in 2019 also. The poll process has already been set rolling with the nominations going on for the first phase of the election, slated for November 30. The fifth and last phase of the poll will take place on December 20. Counting of votes is slated for December 23. The term of the Jharkhand Assembly ends on January 5, 2020. 

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