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BJP emerges giant killer

Ranchi, May 17: Riding on Narendra Modi’s development agenda, the BJP vote share in Jharkhand surged to 40.1 per cent, ensuring the party got almost double the votes it polled in 2009, thereby picking up 12 of 14 Lok Sabha seats of the state.

So strong was the BJP wave that this time its vote share is a little less than double the vote share of all UPA allies put together. For, together the Congress (13.3 per cent), JMM (9.3 per cent) and RJD (1.6 per cent) got 24.2 per cent of the vote, earning them the remaining two seats in the state.

In 2009, the BJP won eight seats, Hazaribagh, Giridih, Jamshedpur, Godda, Dhanbad, Khunti, Lohardaga and Rajmahal, netting over 25 lakh of the over 91 lakh votes cast and logging a vote share of 27.53 per cent.

This time, the BJP secured 52 lakh votes out of a total of 1.25 crore votes.

“We worked very hard at the micro level to achieve this,” said state BJP spokesperson Pradeep Sinha.

“We attempted mass contact with voters, targeting youths and first-time voters. Ours was a simple strategy: an increased voting percentage would bolster anti-incumbency sentiments against the UPA and that would help BJP. The strategy paid off.”

The Congress drew a blank, losing Ranchi, the only seat it won in 2009. It polled 17 lakh votes across the nine constituencies it put up candidates in and saw its vote share fall to 13.3 per cent from 15.02 per cent.

“The Congress could not get the floating vote which is always a decisive factor. Our vote share has decreased, but that is a temporary reverse which we can overcome,” said state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat.

Among the regional parties, Babulal Marandi’s JVM has been the worst sufferer. Apart from his personal loss of face in Dumka, where he was relegated to third place behind Soren Senior and Sunil Soren, all his party nominees lost.

In 2009, Marandi won from Koderma, while his nominee Ajoy Kumar wrested Jamshedpur from the BJP two year’s later in a byelection. This time, Marandi’s only consolation is that the JVM’s vote share has gone up marginally, 12.1 per cent against the 10.48 per cent recorded in 2009.

“Voters did not consider us as it was a national election. But come Assembly polls and the JVM will wash away everybody,” said party general secretary Sunil Sahu.

JMM, the only regional party to see some success in Election 2014 in Jharkhand, won two seats for the UPA, Dumka by party president Shibu Soren and Rajmahal by Vijay Kumar Hansdah, a former Youth Congress man who jumped ship after Soren’s chief minister son Hemant got him the ticket.

But even though its vote share has gone down from 11.7 per cent in 2009 to 9.3 per cent this time, party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya refused to see a slide.

“If the JMM has been able to win two seats while contesting four, then we have better strike rate this time. The last time, we contested eight seats. We are not at a loss,” he claimed.

Sudesh Mahto’s Ajsu Party fielded nine candidates and logged a vote share of 3.7 per cent, a slight improvement from 2009 when six of its candidates got 2.19 per cent votes.