Monday, December 29, 2014

Scripting History in Jharkhand

The BJP's dream run since last December continued unabated last week with the party, in alliance with the AJSU, storming to power in the state of Jharkhand with an absolute majority, the first time in its history that such a thing has happened. Since it was created in 2000 by the then NDA Government out of the tribal areas of southern Bihar, Jharkhand has been thoroughly mis-governed by successive coalition governments that have left it as poor and backward as it ever was, despite being rich in natural wealth and having a surplus budget.

While the results bring good tidings for the people of the state, it also had some surprises. The JMM did much better than expected, coming out as the principal Opposition, despite the Congress having heaped venom on it. Presumably, the anger against the previous government was piled on to the Congress, which just goes to show how badly the party has been decimated this year. From being the default party of governance in India, the Congress has become the standard punching bag for all and sundry. Indeed, the party did not really fight this election and was more dependent on its newly-found allies, the JD(U) and the RJD, which themselves were buy fighting each other within their 'alliance'!

The election also saw some high-profile defeats: the BJP's first CM Babulal Marandi was defeated in both the seats he stood from, while the BJP's CM-hopeful Arjun Munda was also defeated. This then led to Raghubir Das becoming the new CM and the first non-tribal to do so, although the fact is that only 20% of Jharkhand consists of tribal people.

This victory is important for PM Modi as it will add more Rajya Sabha members to his kitty in due time, slowly eroding what has becoming a major stumbling block for him. And with it, the NDA's march continues, now controlling the most states (10) in history and reducing the Congress-led UPA to just 9. 2014 thus closes with a clear mandate to the NDA led by Modi's BJP. 

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