NEW DELHI: The BJP is bracing up for Jharkhand and Delhi elections in December, anticipating that the Election Commission will announce the poll dates in last week of this month.
The party brass is seemingly taking the two states as a test of its electoral machinery due to strong rivals such as the AAP (Delhi) and the JMM (Jharkhand).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is slated to address the concluding public meeting of a yatra being undertaken by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on October 17.
“The party units of Jharkhand and Delhi have been asked to be ready for a high possibility of the EC announcing poll dates in the last week of October,” said a senior BJP functionary.
While the Jharkhand Assembly’s tenure ends on January 3, the polls have to be held before February 13 in Delhi.
Incidentally, the Election Commission has the power to announce poll dates within six months of the last date of the tenure of the Legislative Assemblies.
“Outcome of Maharashtra and Haryana polls is likely to set the tempo for elections in Jharkhand and Delhi. Clearly, Maharashtra and Haryana, on account of relatively weaker rivals, make the task of the BJP easier for retaining power in the two states. The same, however, cannot be said of Jharkhand and Delhi,” added the BJP functionary.
In 2014, the Jharkhand Assembly elections were held in five phases spread over November-December. A large part of Jharkhand is considered challenging for security personnel on account of the Maoist influence. However, the BJP claims that Left Wing Extremism in Jharkhand has significantly been tamed.
“Elections in Delhi by end of December will be ideal for the BJP. The AAP also appears preparing for polls accordingly. The state of the economy and its likely discomforts among the large middle-class electorate will only gain more intensity since turnaround doesn’t appear in the immediate horizon. So, the earlier the elections are held, the better it will be for us to attempt to wrest power from the AAP,” said another BJP functionary.
Anti-incumbency factor looms on Raghubar Das
Chief Minister Raghubar Das and the ruling BJP will have the onus of fighting anti-incumbency in Jharkhand.
Though the BJP-AJSU Party alliance won 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, the state poll is a different proposition.
Good news is that the Congress is weakened after the exit of state unit chief Ajoy Kumar, who joined the AAP.
Prestige issue as BJP out of power since 1998
In Delhi, the saffron party has been out of power since 1998. Though the party made Manoj Tiwari the Delhi unit head to draw Poorvanchali votes, the party has many senior leaders vying for the CM’s chair.
Delhi is also a prestige issue for the party as the AAP, a relatively young party, had wrested power from the Congress.