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Deja Vu in Jharkhand

What can Jharkhand expect after an indecisive mandate and an opportunistic post-poll alliance?

Ever since its formation as a state for the tribals of undivided Bihar, Jharkhand has suffered from bouts of political instability, corruption, poor governance and the “resource curse” – widespread and unplanned exploitation of its mineral wealth without benefits accruing to the tribal population. Discontent against the mainstream political parties has shown up in the Maoist challenge to the State and Jharkhand remains a relative Maoist stronghold. Notwithstanding the Maoist rebellion, nearly 60% of the electorate turned out to vote in the assembly elections held last month, but they only managed to mandate a 81-member hung assembly.

The fractured mandate was in keeping with the state’s recent electoral history. And also, in keeping with the trend of throwing up random post-election coalitions, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) staked and achieved their claim to form a government along with the inclusion of the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) party. This despite the fact that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, including the Janata Dal (United), had a tally far less than what it had in the previous elections in 2005, with the BJP losing nearly 5% of its erstwhile support. The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance, including the newly formed Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) – JVM(P) – led by former BJP leader and ex-chief minister Babulal Marandi, managed to win 25 seats, making it the pre-election alliance with the most seats.

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