Jharkhand CM’s style of functioning has led to discontent, but Modi magic is intact.
Ranchi: The Assembly elections in Jharkhand could possibly be going in the lines of Rajasthan even though the ruling BJP is confident that it will retain power. The discontent is not against the BJP but Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das’s “style of functioning.” But those close to him claims “its just a perception created by the Opposition.” In Rajasthan, Vasundhara Raje’s lack of popularity among the voters had cost the BJP the state in 2018.
Sensing that Prime Minister, Mr Narendra Modi continues to be a popular figure in the state, the main Opposition party — Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has refrained from targeting him in its campaign rallies. The main target of the JMM is chief minister Raghubar Das. The BJP is asking people to vote for “double engine ki sarkaar” and a “stable government.”
As for the Congress, yet again the party, which lacks any major influence in the state, is latching on to JMM, whose core vote bank is the tribal population. The same is the story of the other ally of the Oppositions’ grand alliance — RJD.
The BJP is hoping that the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) and former chief minister Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) JVM(P) could cut into the JMM votes, as tribals are the core vote-bank of the three parties. Around 27 per cent of the population is tribals.
Sudesh Mahato led AJSU is contesting separately after AJSU and the BJP failed to agree on the seat sharing formula. The BJP has not fielded any candidate against Mr Mahto on Silli assembly seat and AJSU did not field its candidate on Jamshedpur (East), Mr Das’s seat.
Speculation is rife that the BJP leadership is holding talks with the AJSU and the JVM(P), in case it fails to achieve a simple majority on its own. However, both the AJSU and the JVM(P) have rejected suggestions that they are in touch with the BJP for a post-poll scenario.
“It is not JVM(P) but the people of Jharkhand who are contesting this election. People are feeling cheated by the Raghubar Das government, it did nothing for the people except signing MoUs. There is so much of joblessness and exodus because there are no jobs here,” said JVM(P) supremo Babulal Marandi.
Unemployment, economic slowdown, vacant government seats, lack of irrigation facilities, education, health and efforts by the Raghubar Das government to tamper with the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act (CNT Act) and the Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act (SPT Act) are being used by the Opposition to attack the Raghubar Das led government. Ram Mandir, Article 370 and NRC, issues being highlighted by BJP’s central leadership, have found no resonance among the people.
However, curb on Naxalism, electrification and roads connectivity are some of the issues for which the Raghubar Das government is being praised for.
“Definitely, Naxal activities have come down here. It was impossible to pass through this area till couple of years back, even in day time. There has been a massive crackdown on Naxals by the BJP government only after which we are witnessing road connectivity and small eateries in this region,” said Lokbir Mahato in Gundu, few kilometres outside Ranchi.