January 26, 2020

Jharkhand: Report on state assembly elections

G D Bakshi

FOR 81 seats of the state assembly, elections were held from November 30 to December 20 and counting was done of December 23, 2019.

In a meeting of all the political parties convened by the Election Commission of India, all the opposition parties including the Left parties demanded that the elections be held on one day. But the election commission decided to hold the election in five phases, took no steps to stop flow of illegal money, neither restricted pro-BJP officials who were openly campaigning. The poll percentage in the state was 65.39 per cent


Jharkhand Mukti Morcha- 30 (18.72 per cent)
Indian National Congress- 16 (13.88 per cent)
Rastriya Janata Dal- 01 (2.75 per cent)
BJP- 25 ( 33.37 per cent)
AJSU -02 (8.10 per cent)
CPI(ML)-1 (1.14 per cent)
CPI(M)- nil (0.32 per cent)


The mahagathbandhan obtained 1.25 per cent more votes in comparison to BJP. Its constituent parties won 47 seats which are 22 more than it won in 2014. Jharkhand Mukti Morcha(JMM) contested 43 seats and won 30, thereby emerging as the single largest party. Congress contested 31 seats and won 16 as constituent of mahagathbandhan. RJD contested seven seats and won one seat as constituent of it.

SC/ST Seats
Out of 28 seats reserved for scheduled tribes,  JMM won 19, Congress-six, Jharkhan Vikas Morcha (JVM-P) - one and BJP-two seats. In 2014, BJP had won 11 seats. Out of the nine seats reserved for scheduled castes, BJP won six seats, (in 2014 it has won five seats) JMM- two seats and RJD- one seat. One of the reasons behind the success of BJP in the SC seats is that the dalits have been strongly influenced by the Hindutwa ideology; also they were not under severe attacks on the question of land as the tribals were subjected to.

JVM(P) led by former BJP chief minister, Babulal Marandi was not in mahagathbandhan, it contested independently and won three seats including Babulal Marandi, who defeated CPI(ML) sitting legislator.

Hemant Soren became the chief minister of the state. In the first meeting of the cabinet, a decision was taken to withdraw all the cases of sedition lodged against the ‘Pathalgari’ movement of the tribals, withdrawal of all the criminal cases lodged by the previous government against leaders and activists who struggled against the attempt to amend Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act related to acquisition of land; transferred the principal secretary who was posted by the Raghuwar Das government; ordered for payment of dues to the para-teachers and scheme-workers who faced barbaric police torture during their agitation.

Hemant Soren, also criticised politicisation of bureaucrats, assured strict implementation of PESA (Panchayati Extension Schedule Area Act) ensuring functioning of the gram sabha, implementation of  the Forest Right Act and review the land acquisition process of the former BJP led government for the power plant of Adani in Godda.


During the pre-election period, leaders of BJP, Congress, JMM etc., including state presidents, elected legislators shifted to other parties. But voters rejected the turn-coat leaders. Former Congress state president joined BJP and contested elections but was defeated. Sitting legislator of JMM from Baharagoda constituency joined BJP and was defeated. BJP leader of the same constituency shifted to JMM and won the seat.

BJP suspended 11 rebel leaders of Santhal Parganas for six years including its former state president and party spokesman.


During the last five years of misrule of the BJP led government, the Left parties, independently and also jointly with other opposition parties, intervened on different socio-political issues and struggled against forcible land acquisition, attempt to amend the Chhotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Act, suicide of peasants, mob lynching, starvation deaths, communal violence, deterioration in law and order situation, attack on democratic movements etc.

In a meeting of all opposition parties, including Left parties, convened by Hemant Soren in July 2019 it was announced by Hemant Soren himself that the sitting and second position seats of Left parties will be spared for the concerned parties. Accordingly, CPI(ML) & MCC should have got two seats each.

Left parties in their meeting, decided not to contest against each other. The CPI announced support to CPI(M) in Baharagoda constituency. But afterwards CPI fielded candidate in the same constituency and obtained 2,249 votes and the CPI(M) got 8,167 votes.

CPI, CPI(ML)-Liberation and Marxist Co-ordination Committee all the three Left parties contested from Mandu assembly constituency. CPI(ML) Liberation lost its sitting seat of Dhanwar to JVM(P) leader Babulal Marandi, but it regained Bagodar seat which was lost in 2014. In 2005, CPI(ML)-Liberation sitting MLA Mahendra Singh was shot dead. His son was elected in 2009 but lost in 2014, again won the seat in 2019.

Marxist Co-ordination Committee lost its sitting Nirsa seat to BJP. It has also been defeated by BJP in Sindri seat as JMM fielded candidates in both Nirsa and Sindri.

The CPI contested 17 seats; its three nominations were rejected. The CPI(ML)-Liberation contested from 14 seats. Marxist Co-ordination Committee contested from 8 seats, its two nominations were rejected.