Chief Ministerial candidate of the Opposition alliance in Jharkhand and JMM Executive President Hemant Soren on Monday met his parents in Ranchi and took their blessings. Wearing jeans and a coat, Hemant took a cycle ride to reach his father's residence. Hemant's father and JMM chief Shibu Soren's residence is located at Morabadi ground in the city. Hemant Soren is leading from Dumka and Barhait assembly seats. As per the latest trends, he is leading with 12,000 votes in Barhait and more than 700 votes in Dumka. Soren is likely to become the Chief Minister of the state.
Hemant Soren had contested from the same seats in 2014. While he did not have much luck in Dumka, he won from the Barhait seat and went on to become the Leader of Opposition. In Barhait, both the BJP and AJSU have pitted their candidates against Hemant Soren. While AJSU has nominated Gamliyel Hembrom, the BJP has fielded Simon Malto. The Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has fielded Hopnat Tudu. The other candidates in the fray are Bahujan Samaj Party’s (BSP) Baidhnath Pahadiya, Lok Jan Shakti Party’s (LJP) Samuel Kumar Maraiya and TMC’s Sheel Tudu. A few Independents are also in the fray.
The BJP which is facing the formidable combination of JMM-Congress-RJD is currently leading in 25 seats. Meanwhile, JMM and its allies are leading in 45 seats and Babulal Marandi's JVM on 3 seats. The halfway mark in the 81-seat Assembly is 40 seats. The BJP and its allies AJSU, LJP who were initially touted to jointly contests the polls had a fallout leading to both parties fielding their own candidates against their saffron ally. Meanwhile, there is a possibility of AJSU and LJP joining a post-poll alliance with the BJP.
The Jharkhand assembly elections recorded the overall voter turnout of 65.17% compared to the 66.53% recorded in the 2014 elections. For the first time since Jharkhand's creation 19 years ago, Assembly elections to all the 81 seats passed off without violence by Maoists. Of the 5,389 polling stations in the state, 396 in Maoist -affected areas were marked "critical" and 208 as "sensitive". 1,088 male candidates, 27 women nominees, and one third-gender candidate were in the fray for the 81 seats.
(With agency inputs)