The Election Commission is expected to announce dates for the Assembly election in Jharkhand at 4.30 pm. The election will be the third full 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.
The BJP, which currently rules the state in an alliance with the All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU), will hope for better results than it recorded in Maharashtra and Haryana. The party was widely expected to win both states by comfortable margins but suffered setbacks, winning fewer seats in each than it did in the last election, although it did emerge as the single-largest in each state.
In Maharashtra, where the BJP won only 105 seats compared to the 122 it was defending, government formation has stalled with ally Shiv Sena insisting on it honouring a "50:50" deal and allowing a Sena leader to be Chief Minister for 2.5 years.
In Haryana, the BJP had to resort to a post-poll alliance with Dushyant Chautala's Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) - to whom it gave the post of Deputy Chief Minister - to help it cross the majority mark in the house. The party, which had targeted winning 75 of the 90 seats, won only 40; it had won 47 in the last election.
In Jharkhand, the BJP is led by Chief Minister Raghubar Dass. The BJP rose to power after winning 35 seats in the 81-member house. Its ally, the AJSU, won 17, taking the NDA past the majority mark. The BJP's dominant performance also saw it reduce the Congress to just six seats.
The party also swept the state in Lok Sabha polls, winning 12 of 14 parliamentary seats.
The Congress and the JMM have announced a tie-up but they have yet to finalise seat-sharing.
"Everything is pre-decided, and the grand alliance will be announced soon," Jharkhand Congress chief Rameshwar Oraon was quoted in a report by news agency IANS. The main goal was to oust the BJP, he added.
According to IANS, the JMM will be the majority partner and contest 44 seats. The Congress will get 27 and the rest will go to smaller allies, which include the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Left parties.
With input from IANS