Jharkhand: Modi, Shah and Adityanath's Aggressive Campaigning Did Not Help BJP

In several constituencies the leaders visited, results did not go the BJP's way.

New Delhi: The Jharkhand assembly elections results suggest that the aggressive and extensive campaigning done by senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) party leaders Prime Minister Narendra Modi, home minister Amit Shah and Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath did not work in the party’s favour.

According to media reports, in total the three leaders addressed as many as 32 election rallies in different parts of the state during the assembly election campaign. However, the BJP’s election performance suggests these rallies did not always serve their purpose.

Narendra Modi

Modi addressed at least two campaign rallies before the first phase of the elections, in Daltonganj and Gumla. While BJP’s candidate in Daltonganj Alok Kumar Chaurasia won, defeating the Congress candidate, in Gumla the BJP’s candidate, Mishir Kujur, was defeated by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM).

Similarly, for the second phase, Modi addressed two massive rallies in tribal-concentrated region Khunti and Jamshedpur. Jamshedpur East was former chief minister Raghubar Das’ s constituency, and the BJP had won both Jamshedpur East and West in the previous assembly elections. While the BJP won the Khunti seat, it lost both seats in Jamshedpur despite a high-pitched campaign. Das had been representing the Jamshedpur East seat since 1995.

Also read: Modi-Shah Politics May Be Facing the Law of Diminishing Returns

For the third phase, Modi addressed two rallies, in Barhi and Bokaro. In both constituencies, the BJP lost.

Before fourth phase, the prime minister addressed a campaign rally in the city of Dhanbad. Here, BJP candidate Raj Sinha defeated its closest opponent, Mannan Mallick of the Congress, by a huge margin.

In Dumka, where Modi made a communal remark about anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protesters being recognised by their clothes, BJP candidate and former state cabinet minister Louis Marandi lost to JMM leader Hemant Soren, who is set to be the state’s next chief minister.

Amit Shah

BJP president and Union home minister Amit Shah addressed at least nine rallies during the election campaign.

Both in Manika, a Maoist-affected area from where Shah kicked off the party’s election campaign, and its neighbouring constituency Latehar, BJP candidates were defeated by the Congress and JMM, respectively. On the same day, Shah had campaigned in Lohardaga. Here too, party candidate Sukhdeo Bhagat, former state president of the Congress and a sitting MLA, was defeated by Congress’s current state president, Rameshwar Oraon.

On December 2, Shah addressed rallies in Chakradharpur and Baharagora. While the Chakradharpur rally was supposed to work in the party’s favour in a number of neighbouring constituencies – Chakradharpur, Majhgaon, Chaibasa and Manoharpur – the party lost all these seats. In this region, the JMM emerged as the biggest winner.

Also read: Regional Issues Triumph Communal Fervour as BJP Learns Yet Another Lesson in Jharkhand

In Baharagora, where Shah campaigned on the same day and supposed to influence voters of assembly constituencies such as Baharagora, Jamshedpur East and West, Ghatshila and Potka, BJP was defeated badly. In this region too, JMM has emerged as the biggest victor.

In the Santhal Pargana region, Shah addressed a rally in Deoghar, which was aimed at influencing voters in Deoghar, Sarath and Madhupur constituencies. BJP won the Deoghar seat by defeating the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) candidate by a margin of less than 3,000, and in Sarath BJP’s candidate Randhir Kumar Singh defeated Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik)’s nominee by nearly 30,000 votes. The saffron party’s candidate was defeated in Madhupur, though, by the JMM candidate.

Yogi Adityanath

Another star campaigner, Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath too could not influence voters, despite his usual rabble-rousing and communally charged speeches. In fact, in the Jamtara assembly constituency – where he said, “If any Irfan wins here, how will a Ram temple in Ayodhya be constructed?” – the BJP candidate lost his seat by a huge margin, nearly 40,000 votes. Last time, the BJP had lost the seat by a margin of less than 10,000.

Adityanath’s communal remark was directed at Congress candidate Irfan Ansari.

According to a news report, Adityanath held over 11 rallies in Jharkhand in different phases, as he was in “high demand”. However, the aggressive campaigning didn’t translate into seats. Apart from Jamtara, the UP chief minister campaigned in Giridih, Hussainabad, Potka and Jugsalai seats, and on all of them the saffron party was defeated.

Congress leaders

On the other hand, Congress star campaigners seem to have fared better in comparison. Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi reportedly addressed five campaign rallies in total – four by Rahul and one by Priyanka.

In Simdega, where Rahul addressed a joint campaign rally for Simdega and Kolebira assembly constituencies, both seats were won by Congress party candidates. Similarly, in Barkagaon, Rahul Gandhi held a joint rally for Barkagaon and Hazaribagh assembly seats. While the Congress registered a victory in Barkagaon, the party was defeated by the BJP in Hazaribagh.

In Mahagama assembly constituency of Godda, where too Rahul held rally, party candidate Deepika Pandey Singh defeated sitting MLA and BJP candidate Ashok Kumar. Rahul also held a rally in Ranchi, but here the Congress’s alliance partner, JMM, was defeated by the BJP. In neighbouring constituencies such as Kanke and Hatia too, the BJP emerged victorious. However, in Khijri, Ichagarh and Silli assembly constituencies of the Ranchi Lok Sabha constituency, the BJP was defeated by grand alliance partner JMM and former BJP ally AJSU.

Priyanka addressed a campaign rally in the Pakur assembly constituency of Santhal Parganas region on the last day of campaign in the last phase of election. This seat was won by Alamgir Alam of the Congress, who defeated his BJP rival by a large margin.