It's a BJP govt in Jharkhand; hung house in J&K

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will form Jharkhand's first single-party majority government while it has become the second-largest party in terrorism hit Jammu and Kashmir, continuing with its dream run in elections this year.

The assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir have thrown up a fractured mandate. But Jharkhand has seen the alliance led by the BJP that promised a stable government winning 42 seats in the 81 member state assembly.

It is on J&K assembly elections that had generated the maximum interest, where the BJP had conducted a high profile campaign. No party has managed to win a majority after the results have been out. J&K has 87 assembly seats, for which 44 seats are needed for a simple majority.

The People's Democratic Party (PDP) emerged as the single largest party with 28 seats, after a neck-and-neck fight with the BJP, which stopped at 25.

There are all sorts of speculations over likely alliances. Reports speak of a PDP-led government with party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayed as its new chief minister.

The big question doing the rounds is: Will the PDP join hands with the BJP? While some feel that could be a political suicide for the PDP, a section in the party thinks the Congress, which has just 12 seats, is not a viable option since voter sentiment is against it.

Irrespective of numbers and ideological comfort, the PDP going with the BJP might sound a good option if the state party wanted to stay with ruling party at the Centre. In the last 12 years, ruling parties in JK (both PDP and NC) have always opted for the Congress which was at the helm of the central government.

'I think we have to consider Jammu's (where the BJP fared impressively) sentiments if we form the government. Our options for coalition are open,' said PDP spokesperson Naeem Akhtar.

The BJP, meanwhile, kept its cards close to the chest. 'The option of forming the government, the option of supporting a government and the option of participating in a government are all open,' BJP national president Amit Shah said at a press conference after the outcome became clear.

Altaf Thakur, BJP media advisor in Kashmir, said, 'Any party which wants to come with us is welcome if it has Kashmir's development at the heart.'

However, owing to the PDP's ideological differences with right-wing BJP over important issues like that of Article 370, which gives a special status to JK, the Congress might smell an opportunity.

The National Conference (NC), which managed to bag just 15 seats, is not ruling itself out of the race. 'I don't rule out or rule in anything thereafter,' said NC leader and outgoing chief minister Omar Abdullah, even though his party giving support to the PDP had never been considered an option by political observers in the run up to the polls.

Omar won from Beerwah assembly segment, but lost in Srinagar's Sonawar, another seat he was contesting.

Another significant aspect of the J&K election result was the BJP's performance in Jammu, which accounts for 36 assembly constituencies in the state. The saffron party won all its seats in the Hindu-dominated region, as it scored a zero in Kashmir Valley.

The BJP however, has made history in Jharkhand. Its win in the state is the beginning of the end to multi party governments.

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), the second biggest party after the BJP, will now play the role of main opposition in the assembly with 18 seats.

Outgoing chief minister Hemant Soren of the JMM fought from two seats, but could retain only one. He lost Dumka, considered the party headquarters, to the BJP.

The saffron party won 37 seats on its own, while its alliance partner - the AJSU Party - bagged five seats. While the Congress alliance won six seats, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) got eight.

The Congress led mega coalition comprising parties such as the Janata Dal (United) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal along with regional player JVM(P) have been routed. This may trigger jitters for the newly formed 'Janata Parivar.

The Jharkhand results have also sprang several surprises. BJP bigwig and ex-chief minister Arjun Munda lost Kharsawan. The other big losers included AJSU Party chief and ex-deputy CM Sudesh Mahto, JVM(P) supremo and ex-CM Babulal Marandi - he contested two seats and lost both, and ex-CM Madhu Koda. Just one minister of the outgoing Hemant government managed to win.

'Attribute it to (Prime Minister) Narendra Modi that the state is going to see its first majority government,' Raghuvar Das, BJP vice president and a leader considered to be a frontrunner for the CM post, said.

BJP president Shah congratulated party workers saying, 'I extend my wishes to BJP workers in both states as it (the results) wouldn't have been possible without their efforts.'

Prime Minister Modi took to Twitter, lauding party workers in Jharkhand and J&K.

Courtesy Niti Central

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