New Delhi: Even before the results of the Jharkhand assembly polls were declared, 44-year-old Hemant Soren went to his father Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren to get his blessings, confident that he would be the chief minister of Jharkhand a second time.
Soon after, he addressed a press conference where he said, ‘The people of Jharkhand have given us a mandate and I thank them for that. Today, a new chapter will begin for the state, and the chapter will prove to be a milestone. Today, the time has arrived to fulfill what Jharkhand was created for.’
‘I am grateful to Lalu ji, Sonia Gandhi ji, Rahul Gandhi ji for their support. The voters have given a clear mandate,’ he said.
Hemant Soren, who was Jharkhand’s fifth chief minister will succeed BJP’s Raghubar Das, who was the first Chief Minister in the state to complete a five-year term.
Since its formation in 2000, Jharkhand has had nine governments and three terms of President’s Rule.
According to poll pundits, the BJP suffered poll losses because its star campaigners like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah did not focus on the local issues in speeches, and, instead, talked of terrorism and central policies. While the Congress campaigns did not focus on local issues either, the fact that they partnered with JMM seemed to have helped them.
Another thing that may have gone against the BJP was the focus on NRC and CAA, neither of which had an impact in Jharkhand.
Something else that came across quite clearly in the voices from Jharkhand was the unhappiness with the BJP Chief Minister Raghubar Das. Many spoke of his arrogance and others felt that the BJP’s gamble of having a non-tribal chief minister had not worked.
The Congress has made it clear that there will be no debate about who will be chief minister. All India Congress Committee in-charge for Jharkhand, RPN Singh said, ‘We will form the government as we fought the elections for the people of the state by raising issues that affect their lives and livelihoods. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah tried to divert the attention of the people away from fundamental issues but the people did not get swayed.’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Jharkhand Mukti Morcha leader Hemant Soren for the victory and extended his best wishes to the JMM-Congress-RJD combine. He also thanked the people of Jharkhand for having given the BJP an opportunity to serve the state for many years and also applauded party workers for their efforts.
The JMM and the Congress-RJD combine had contested the 2014 Assembly election separately. The three parties were, however, part of the coalition government led by JMM leader Hemant Soren from 2013 to 2014 before the election took place. They parted ways over seat-sharing arrangements and the JMM chose to contest alone.
The BJP, on the other hand, contesting these Assembly polls alone for the first time since the creation of Jharkhand in 2000, having always partnered with the AJSU party. The two parties failed to iron out their differences on the number of seats each would contest this time.