How Shivraj Singh Chouhan Seeks To Replicate Madhya Pradesh Success In Jharkhand

Nishtha Anushree

Jun 25, 2024, 03:34 PM | Updated 03:34 PM IST

Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal
Shivraj Singh Chouhan in Bhopal
  • 'First off the blocks' as an election strategy.
  • Last week, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed Union Agriculture Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as the election in-charge for Jharkhand Assembly polls and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma as the co-in-charge.

    Since then, Chouhan has started preparing for the state elections set to be held later this year. He also visited the state capital Ranchi a couple of days ago and held a meeting with senior BJP leaders of the state.

    After the meeting, Chouhan expressed hope that the BJP will form the government in Jharkhand, which is currently being governed by the coalition of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress.

    Chouhan plans to capitalise on the gains of the Lok Sabha elections as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won nine seats in the state, while the ruling coalition could win five.

    However, the NDA tally was reduced from 12 in 2019 to nine this time. To boost the morale of party workers, Chouhan announced that the BJP workers of those booths would be felicitated where the party won.

    Chouhan also plans to replicate the success strategy of the Madhya Pradesh Assembly elections in Jharkhand. In MP, the BJP released its first list of candidates on 17 August with 39 names, many weeks before the election notification was issued.

    The voting ultimately happened on 17 November, which means that the first candidate list was out three months before the elections, giving ample time to the candidates to campaign and connect with the people.

    When the results were declared on 3 December, the BJP won 163 of the 230 seats in the state, just a couple of seats short of its highest-ever tally of 165 seats in 2013. This was despite ruling the state for almost 20 years (with just a 15-month break when the Congress came to power).

    The BJP can soon release its first list declaring around 20 candidates for Jharkhand.

    In the meeting held on Sunday (23 June), this strategy was discussed. The first task will be to finalise candidates on those Scheduled Tribe (ST)-reserved seats that the BJP lost in 2019.

    The candidate selection panel will propose three names for each of these seats and then the BJP parliamentary board will finalise a name. The aim is to release first candidate list by 22 July, Jagran reported.

    The BJP has successfully implemented the experiment of releasing the first candidate list before the election notification in Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan as well.

    However, the focus in Jharkhand is on ST-reserved seats because the BJP could win only two of the 28 these seats in 2019. Even in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, the party could not win any ST-reserved seats.

    Nishtha Anushree is Senior Sub-editor at Swarajya. She tweets at @nishthaanushree.

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