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Hung House in Jharkhand; advantage NDA
February 27, 2005 12:41 IST
Last Updated: February 27, 2005 21:54 IST
Jharkhand's first assembly elections produced a fractured mandate on Sunday.
However, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance emerged as the biggest pre-poll group within sniffing distance of power, by staving off the anti-incumbency factor. The BJP and its ally, the Janata Dal [United], won 35 seats in the 81-member assembly, six short of the magic figure of 41.
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress combine bagged 25 seats. The Rashtriya Janata Dal, which contested the election on its own, had a haul of eight seats. The Forward Bloc won two seats, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) won one each. The independents got 8 seats. The result in one seat is yet to be declared.
Chief Minister Arjun Munda retained his Kharsawan seat for a third successive term by defeating his nearest rival Kunti Soe of the Congress by over 20,000 votes.
However, Munda's four cabinet colleagues – Transport Minister Madhavlal Singh (Ind), Agriculture Minister Debi Dhan Besra (BJP), Rural Development Minister Chandra Mohan Prasad (BJP) and Welfare Minister Sudarshan Bhagat (BJP) lost.
While Madhavlal Singh lost Gomia to BJP's Chhaturam Mahto, Besra was made to bite the dust by Suphal Marandi (JMM) in Maheshpur. Prasad lost to JMM's Munnalal in Giridih and Bhagat was defeated by Bhusan Tirkey (JMM) in Gumla seat.
The JMM suffered a setback in Jama and Dumka, where Shibu Soren's sons were defeated. While rebel JMM candidate Stephen Marandi humbled Hemant in Dumka to retain the seat for the fifth time, BJP's Sunil Soren defeated Soren's eldest son Durga in Jama.
Meanwhile, both the BJP and the UPA said they will stake claim to form the government in the state.
A meeting of the BJP's parliamentary board chaired, by former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, decided that the party will stake claim in Jharkhand.
The party has deputed its former president M Venkaiah Naidu to oversee the formation of its government. Naidu will be reaching Ranchi on Monday morning and the BJP Legislature Party is expected to meet in the evening to elect its leader, BJP vice-president and spokesman Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told PTI.
BJP is banking on the support of two MLAs of the All Jharkhand Students Union, with which it had a pre-poll alliance, and the UJDP, a breakaway group of the JMM. The party will also seek the support of two party rebels - Madhu Kora and Jobha Majhi - who won the polls, to manage a simple majority in the 81-member House, party sources added.
The party is also hoping that one of the two seats, whose results have been put on hold by the Election Commission, will be in its favour.
The Congress leader in charge of Jharkhand and Bihar Harikesh Bahadur said the UPA will also stake its claim on Monday.
"We are going to meet the governor tomorrow [Monday]," Bahadur told a press conference in New Delhi.
Bahadur said representatives from all secular parties would meet the governor to stake the claim. He said the ruling NDA had 'lost its popularity.
The RJD has expressed its unconditional support for the Congress.
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