If trends convert into results, BJP is likely to lose Jharkhand, making it a fifth state to go out of saffron party’s hand. With another state likely to slip out of BJP’s hand, the percentage of area governed by the saffron party has shrunk to just 35 per cent. The political scenario has changed drastically for the BJP. In 2017, the saffron map covered 71 per cent of India. In 2014, the BJP had just seven states under its control. The best was in 2018, when 21 states were governed by the BJP and its allies. However, the picture has changed completely.
Looking at the recent Assembly election results, the major states that went out of BJP’s hold are Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and if trends continue, Jharkhand also. Soon after BJP came to power at the Centre in 2014, it was believed that the Modi wave will also change the political fortune of the party at state level. At that time, the Congress party governed 13 states, whereas BJP had just seven states in its kitty.
But soon, things changed for the party. By 2018, there were just handful of states with the non-BJP governments. These were - Tamil Nadu (AIADMK), Kerala (LDF), Karnataka (Congress), Mizoram (Congress), Punjab (Congress), Odisha (BJD), West Bengal (Trinamool Congress), Telangana (TRS) and Delhi (AAP).
The turning point that stopped the BJP juggernaut at state level was the massive loss in the Hindi heartland. The losses in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh rattled the BJP leadership. Another noticeable change was Jammu and Kashmir, which was under President’s Rule since 2018. Now, that has also changed with abrogation of Article 370.
If BJP loses Jharkhand, it will be the first time in five years that the saffron map has shrunk below 40 per cent. The only noticeable twist was in Karnataka.
Exit polls have predicted that the pre-poll alliance of Congress, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal is likely to emerge as the single largest coalition and may go on to form majority in the Assembly.
The approximate voter turnout for all the 81 Assembly constituencies across the five phases is 65.17 per cent, compared to the 66.53 per cent recorded in the 2014 elections. Out of 81 Assembly seats in the states, elections concluded in 65 constituencies in the previous four phases between November 30 and December 16 while the last phase was held on December 23. An EC note said, altogether 1,088 male candidates, 127 women nominees and one third-gender candidate were in the fray for the 81 seats.