Ranchi: After voting in five-phased Assembly polls, the people of Jharkhand will finally get to see the winner of the neck-to-neck political contest between the ruling BJP and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM)-led alliance as the counting of votes kick-started today (December 23).

BJP, which had won 37 seats in the last Assembly elections, coined the slogan "Abki Baar 65 Paar". However, the ruling party faces a stiff challenge as the alliance of JMM, Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) seems to have an advantage, as per exit polls released last week.

Major political parties:

BJP, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Congress, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU) and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) are among the major political parties which are in the fray in the tribal-dominated state.

Raghubar Das took oath as the chief minister of Jharkhand in 2014 after the BJP won 37 seats and stitched an alliance with the AJSU, which had won 5 seats. However, AJSU broke ties with BJP and contested elections solo this time.

The ruling party has fielded its candidates in 79 out of 81 seats. However, the BJP has not fielded any candidate against AJSU's Sudesh Mahto and has supported a candidate in the remaining one constituency.

Under the leadership of JMM chief Hemant Soren, Congress and RJD have come together to oust the BJP from power. JMM has fielded candidates in 43 seats, while the Congress and the RJD candidates are in the fray in 31 and seven constituencies, respectively.

Key seats:

Raghubar Das is contesting from the Jamshedpur East seat against his ex-Cabinet colleague Saryu Rai, who is fighting as an independent, and Congress candidate Gourav Vallabh.

Former chief minister Hemant Soren is the fray from two seats (Dumka and Barhet). BJP has pitted Women and Child Development Minister Louis Marandi in Dumka against Soren.

Among other prominent leaders are AJSU President Sudesh Mahto, who lost the 2014 Assembly poll, and is trying his luck again from Silli seat and former chief minister and JVM-P chief Babulal Marandi who is fighting from Dhanwar Assembly seat.

Jharkhand Agriculture minister Randhir Singh is contesting from Sarath constituency, former deputy chief minister and sitting JMM MLA Stephen Marandi is in the poll fray from Maheshpur, and JD(U)'s Salkhan Murmu is fighting from Sikaripara.