Modi and Shah’s Efforts Fall Flat: Understanding BJP’s Loss in All Tribal-Dominated Seats in Jharkhand

The saffron party won eight of the 14 seats in the state.
Modi and Shah’s Efforts Fall Flat: Understanding BJP’s Loss in All Tribal-Dominated Seats in Jharkhand
Photo: Deccan Herald

New Delhi: In the recently-concluded Lok Sabha elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), despite winning eight out of 14 seats in Jharkhand, failed to secure any of the five Scheduled Tribes (ST)-reserved seats, including Dumka, Rajmahal, Chaibasa, Lohardaga and Khunti.

Despite the BJP’s vigorous efforts, key leaders such as former Union Minister Arjun Munda suffered significant defeats. He lost Khunti constituency to Congress’s Kalichran Munda by a substantial margin.

Similarly, Congress’s Sukhdeo Bhagat emerged victorious in Lohardaga with a considerable lead over the BJP candidate. In Chaibasa, former Jharkhand minister Jobha Manjhi defeated Geeta Koda, who had recently switched from the Congress to the BJP.

Even in the highly anticipated Dumka seat, the BJP faced defeat against the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM). Sita Soren, who joined the BJP after deserting the Heman Soren’s party, lost to JMM's Nalin Soren by a significant margin.

Furthermore, JMM’s Vijay Hansda retained the Rajmahal seat for the third consecutive term with a considerable lead.

Analysts suggested that the arrest of former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in an alleged land scam case had sparked a sympathy wave among voters, impacting the Opposition’s prospects in the state.

The issue of the Sarna code, a longstanding demand of tribal communities for a separate religious code, also played a role in tribal voters distancing themselves from the BJP. Despite persistent appeals, the demand remains unfulfilled by the Centre.

In light of these developments, BJP spokesperson Pradip Sinha acknowledged the need for the party to introspect on its failure to secure victory in the ST seats.

Sources indicate that internal conflicts within the BJP also played a role in their dismal performance. In 2019, the NDA secured 12 out of 14 seats in the state, with Congress and JMM each winning one seat.

Jharkhand Chief Minister Champai Soren attributed the INDIA Bloc's success in tribal areas to strong public backing. "Your steadfast support for the Alliance candidates, despite false accusations and propaganda, is valuable to us. They (BJP) attempted to silence our voice but did not succeed," he remarked.

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