Jharkhand exit polls predict big win for JMM-Congress; BJP likely to fall behind

A hung assembly yet again, and JVM`s Babulal Marandi and AJSU`s Sudesh Mahto ending up as kingmakers in the next government to take shape in Jharkhand, are the big takeaways from the IANS-CVoter-ABP Exit Polls released on Friday after voting ended in the fifth and final phase of the Assembly polls.

Jharkhand exit polls predict big win for JMM-Congress; BJP likely to fall behind

New Delhi: A hung assembly yet again, and JVM`s Babulal Marandi and AJSU`s Sudesh Mahto ending up as kingmakers in the next government to take shape in Jharkhand, are the big takeaways from the IANS-CVoter-ABP Exit Polls released on Friday after voting ended in the fifth and final phase of the Assembly polls.

The IANS-CVoter-ABP Exit Poll was a massive exercise with a sample size of 38,000 voters spread across the state`s 81 Assembly constituencies, and extensively covered all five phases of the poll.

As per the exit poll, the Bharatiya Janata Party can expect to win between 28 and 36 seats which is less than its 2014 tally of 37 seats. The opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal combine were expected to win around between 31 and 39 seats. The situation looks favourable for marginal players like the AJSU and JVM which can look forward to calling the shots in the event of both major players falling short by 10 seats.

Speaking to IANS, Yashwant Deshmukh of CVoter said that if the BJP gets less than 30 seats, it will be difficult for the party to form the government because they cannot expect support from any quarter beyond former party leader and Chief Minister Babulal Marandi and estranged ally Sudesh Mahto.

Not having a tribal face in the Chief Ministerial stakes has cost the BJP dearly as can be seen through voting patterns in the state`s tribal belts, he opined.

Another takeway from the poll reiterated the point that the Modi magic may not be working in the Assembly polls. People who voted for the BJP in Lok Sabha elections this year have not voted for the party in the Assembly polls, the polls indicate.

The BJP could not tap effectively into its traditional vote base, pointing to strong victories in urban constituencies but it could find itself losing by small margins in semi-urban constituencies, Deshmukh said.

Describing the performance of the JMM-led combine as very good, Deshmukh opined that its leader Hemant Soren led an intelligent campaign by focussing on local issues instead of taking up national issues like the Congress does.

"Hemant Soren led from the front, focused on local issues. He did`nt allow the BJP to hijack the agenda with national issues. And this paid dividends. Santhal, Muslim and Christian votes were majorly cast in favour of Soren," Deshmukh explained.

In the circumstances painted by the exit poll, Mahto`s AJSU and Marandi`s JVM with 10 seats between them could end up being wooed by both the combinations.

The five-phase Jharkhand Assembly elections concluded on Friday. Votes will be counted on December 23.