Ranchi: The Election Commission of India (EC) on Friday announced the polling schedule for Assembly elections in Jharkhand and with the announcement, the Model Code of Conduct has also come into effect in the state.
Notably, the Jharkhand election will be the third state poll since Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the BJP to a massive win in Lok Sabha elections in April-May. It will also be the third BJP-ruled state to head to the polls this year, following Maharashtra and Haryana, which voted on October 21.
After winning fewer seats in both the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly election as compared to the 2014 polls, the BJP is hoping to retain power in Jharkhand and spring back with a majority. Here is all you need to know vis-a-vis the important dates
Elections and Results
Elections in Jharkhand will be held in five phases and will start on November 30 for which the results will be declared on December 23.
Polling will be held in 81 assembly seats in Jharkhand. The first phase of polling is scheduled to be held on November 30 and voting in the second phase will be held on December 7 for 20 constituencies. The third phase will be held on December 12, the fourth phase on December 16 and the fifth phase on December 20.
Seats in the state
The Jharkhand Legislative Assembly has a total of 82 seats out of which 81 members are directly elected by the people of the state and one is nominated. Of the 81 seats, nine are reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) and 28 for Scheduled Tribes (ST).
The tenure of the current assembly expires on January 5, 2020 and the new government has to be formed before that.
As per the electoral rolls in January 2019, there are 1.18 crore male voters, 1.08 crore female voters and 40,336 service voters. Special arrangements will be made for elderly people and those physically handicapped.
There will also be a twenty percent increase in the number of polling stations, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora announced. There were 24, 648 polling stations in 2014 whereas there will be 29, 464 polling stations in the upcoming Assembly elections.
Last Assembly Elections
In 2014, the ECI had conducted elections in five phases between November 13 and December 20 and the result was announced on December 23. BJP leader Raghubar Das, who is also Jharkhand’s first non-tribal Chief Minister took as the 10th CM of Jharkhand on December 28, 2014.
A former employee of Tata Steel, Das served as the MLA for five times, representing Jamshedpur East since 1995.
The big political players
Chief Minister Raghubar Das-led BJP is hoping to retain power in the state. In 2014, while the BJP won 37 seats, its ally All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) won five. The combined tally was enough for the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) to cross the majority mark of 41 in the 81-member Legislative Assembly.
This time, speculations are rife that CM Das could either contest from Ranchi or Dhanbad and from his home constituency of Jamshedpur East. Das has set a target of winning 65 seats in the 81-seat state assembly.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) have decided to contest the elections jointly, however, they are yet to finalize seat-sharing formula.