Outgoing Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das will be remembered for two things. First, with the blessings of the BJP’s central leadership, he remained chief minister of the state for the full five years. Second, for giving a severe jolt to his party that was at its peak in the state.
It is a coincidence that the BJP had suffered the jolt in the same way in 2009 when Das was the Jharkhand unit president of the party. This time, as the chief minister, he was the most prominent face of the party in Jharkhand. The central leadership duo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah invested in Das and entrusted him with everything, hoping against the hope that he will strengthen the party and, if not, at least keep the party together during the election.
The horrible defeat of the BJP, where Das himself lost by more than 15,000 votes, has compelled the BJP central leadership to think how they failed in such a big way by projecting him as a leader of the party in the state ahead of the assembly election.
Das failed completely as a political leader. He was not able to satisfy the people of the state about his government’s work due to his bad behaviour with the party cadre and trust in people of his caste. He failed on each and every count of governance and ways to connect with the people. It would be really surprising to see what would have been the fate of the BJP in Jharkhand if Prime Minister Modi and Home Minister Shah had not worked overtime.
The result of Jharkhand has jolted the BJP after poor results in Haryana and Maharashtra — in those states too, the number of seats the party won reduced from the 2014 figures. In Haryana and Maharashtra, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party, it lost the tag in Jharkhand where it had led in more than half of the assembly seats and won 12 Lok Sabha seats in the parliamentary election that concluded in May. What led to this rapid fall?
It is absolutely clear. When Modi led the campaign during the parliamentary election, people supported him whole-heartedly, but completely backed out when Das led this campaign during state election. BJP got 32-33% votes in the assembly election, but six months ago, it had received more than 50% votes from here.
There may be many reasons for the loss of the party in the state, but the biggest reason is Das himself. The party leadership gave him a free hand, right from deciding the campaign to the selection of candidates for the polls. The leadership of state in the hands of Das failed to show its maturity in even dealing with other senior leaders of the state. He created more enemies than friends in every part of the state and relied solely on the people of his caste. The alliance with AJSU broke due to Das.
Consider the following results. Not giving a ticket to Saryu Rai (who can be credited with rebuilding the BJP in Jharkhand) and breaking the alliance with AJSU (declaring Das’s own candidate from Lohardaga, which has long been a winnable seat for AJSU) have yielded such a disaster. if the alliance had stayed, it would have avoided a direct loss of 19 seats. Here’s how:
Dumri: BJP 36,013 votes + AJSU 36,840, which is more than the JMM-INC-RJD alliance’s 71,128
Jugsalai: BJP 66,647 + AJSU 46,779, more than JMM-INC-RJD’s 88,581
Ichagarh: BJP 38,485 + AJSU 38,836 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 57,546
Lohardaga: BJP 44,230 + AJSU 39,916 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 74,380
Nala: BJP 57,836 + AJSU 16,778 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 61,356
Jama: BJP 58,499 + AJSU 13,351 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 60,925
Ramgarh: BJP 31,011 + AJSU 67,962 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 93,083
Barkagaon: BJP 29,912 + AJSU 63,116 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 93,256
Khijri: BJP 78,360 + AJSU 29,091 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 83,829
Chakradharpur: BJP 31,598 + AJSU 17,232 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 43,832
Gandey: BJP 55,969 + AJSU 15,249 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 64,694
Madhupur: BJP 64,883 + AJSU 45,453 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 87624
Ghatshila: BJP 56,807 + AJSU 31,910 > JMM-INC-RJD’s 63,531
Besides, there are other seats where BJP-AJSU could have won: Seraikela, Mandar, Tamar, Jarmundi, Manoharpur, Simdega.
The seat of Saryu Rai from where he moved and Jamshedpur East, to which he moved to challenge Chief Minister Das.
Das’s arrogance and Rahul Gandhi-like statements on education, mentioning MS Dhoni as a big football player, etc added to the woes of the BJP’s Jharkhand government, the performance of which in five years few could recall, more so as it contested the election on no local issue.
In the end, making a Haj House at a cost of Rs 50 crore and giving it gracefully to a community that will not vote for BJP at any cost made even staunch Hindus stay away from the vote.
The former Jharkhand chief minister also relied too much on turncoats while giving tickets for the polls, neglecting strong BJP cadre and leaders. Over 90% of borrowed players, to whom Das gave tickets, lost miserably. This is one issue that merits the attention of the central leadership of BJP. Only three out of 14 weathercocks won seats for the party. The chief minister lost all assembly seats in his home district as well as the neighbouring district, which clearly reflects how much he is connected to the people.
The result of Jharkhand impact BJP’s fortunes in Delhi and Bihar big-time. Delhi is going to polls in February 2020 while Bihar will have its assembly election in October or November. If the result of the Lok Sabha election is set aside, the BJP is a municipal corporation party in Delhi, as it has failed to throw a serious challenge at the AAP. In Bihar, BJP suffered in the recently held by-election. It is also over-dependent on NDA partner JD(U) to win the state poll.