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Last Updated : Dec 03, 2019 03:24 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Jharkhand Assembly Election: 10 bellwether seats — whoever wins these, wins the polls

A quick look at the 10 bellwether seats in Jharkhand that have always voted for the party that eventually forms the government

BJP's Raghubar Das (left) and JMM's Hemant Soren (Images: Twitter/@dasraghubar and @HemantSorenJMM)
BJP's Raghubar Das (left) and JMM's Hemant Soren (Images: Twitter/@dasraghubar and @HemantSorenJMM)

Jharkhand is polling to elect a fresh Legislative Assembly. Elections are being held for all of the state legislature’s 81 seats.

Voters in Jharkhand are heading for polls in five phases. The final phase will be held on December 20. Counting of votes will happen on December 23.

Raghubar Das, Jharkhand’s only chief minister to complete a tenure, is leading the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s campaign to retain power.

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The saffron party is being challenged by an alliance comprising former chief minister Hemant Soren-led Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the Indian National Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

BJP’s long-time ally, the All Jharkhand Student's Union (AJSU) is contesting this election separately. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) is also contesting alone.

While results of opinion surveys and exit polls are often the subject of debate, historic election data, at times, paints a clearer picture.

To get a sneak peek into what the election result could turn out to be, political observers have been studying opinions and reactions of voters in the state’s bellwether seats.

What is a bellwether seat?

By definition, a constituency that votes for the political party which eventually forms the government is called a bellwether seat.

While there is no scientific basis to this, bellwether constituencies usually act as a marker for the final results.

It is to be noted that Raghubar Das is the only chief minister in Jharkhand’s history to have completed a tenure in office. This means that governments in the state have changed frequently even as the Assembly polls were held only every five years.

Also read: CM Raghubar Das faces ex-Cabinet colleague Saryu Roy in Jamshedpur East

Two or more governments have been sworn in within one Legislative Assembly tenure on more than one occasion.

For example, three governments were in office during the third Legislative Assembly (2009-2014). First, it was JMM leader Shibu Soren’s government that lasted under six months. This was followed by President’s Rule and a BJP government led by Arjun Munda. This government lasted under two and a half years. Finally, after another segment of President’s Rule Soren’s son Hemant formed a government that lasted till the end of the Assembly’s tenure concluded.

Hence, the analysis takes into consideration the first government formed after every Assembly election held in the state. It does not consider any government formed subsequently.

The majority mark in Jharkhand’s 81-member Assembly is 41. No party has been able to reach that figure on its own. Having fallen short, parties have formed governments with the support of parties that were not part of their pre-poll alliance. These post-poll alliance has also been considered in this analysis.

The winning side in 2014 was the BJP-All Jharkhand Student's Union pre-poll alliance. In 2009, JMM had formed the government with the support of BJP and AJSU. In 2005, JMM had formed the government with pre-poll partner Congress and post-poll support of RJD, Dumka’s Independent Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) Stephen Marandi, among others.

Here are Jharkhand’s 10 bellwether seats:

Rajmahal (Sahebganj district)
Dumka (Dumka)
Tundi (Dhanbad)
Ghatsila (East Singhbhum)
Potka (East Singhbhum)
Jugsalai (East Singhbhum)
Gumla (Gumla)
Simdega (Simdega)
Lohardaga (Lohardaga)

Manika (Latehar)

As Jharkhand has had only three Assembly polls after being carved out of Bihar, these 10 constituencies have always voted for a party that formed the government first.

(Data source: Election Commission of India (EC) and news reports)

Jharkhand Assembly election 2019: For the latest news, views and updates, click here

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First Published on Dec 3, 2019 03:24 pm
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