NEW DELHI: With the Election Commission announcing five-phase elections for Jharkhand Assembly, the BJP is bracing up to a tough poll battle against the Opposition’s combined might.The EC, in a first, has provided for postal ballots for close to 2.19 lakh senior citizens above 80 years of age. The facility can also be availed by 2.16 lakh people with disabilities.
Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora told reporters at Nirvachan Sadan that the model code of conduct has come in force with the announcement of the poll schedule. For the five-phase polling on November 30, December 7, 12, 16 and 20, the poll panel attributed the decision to 67 Assembly constituencies falling under sensitive zone. A large part of Jharkhand is affected by Left-Wing Extremism even while the BJP government in the state led by Raghubar Das claims to have largely contained the Maoist violence in the past five years with a surrender policy for extremists.
After having led the full five-year term, Das has his task cut out to beat the anti-incumbency factor in the face of the Maharashtra and Haryana poll verdicts clearly incidicating that the national issues are being overwhelmed by the local concerns.
With a number of industrial bases, including Jamshedpur, Dhanbad, Bokaro, Jasidih and Ranchi, in the state, the BJP will need to face up with the impact of the economic slowdown on the people. Also, Das being a non-tribal, the BJP will need to pull up socks to win in the 26 per cent tribal electorate base. Party vice-president and Jharkhand in-charge OP Mathur exuded confidence that the party would win the mandate based on the achievements of the state government.
Five-phase polls upset Congress
The Congress said that the grand alliance of opposition parties in Jharkhand will be announced soon and the party will focus on bread and butter issues in the state. Questioning the move to hold five-phase polls, Congress incharge for the state RPN Singh said, “Election to 288 seats in Maharashtra and 90 seats in Haryana were held in a single phase. Why can’t elections in Jharkhand be held in single phase?”