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Jharkhand: Votes dry up, BJP losing sheen in tribal belts

The BJP has been washed out from Kolhan region, where as in 2014 the party had won five out of the 14 seats.

Published: 26th December 2019 02:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th December 2019 01:18 PM   |  A+A-

Jharkhand CM designate Hemant Soren meets Congress president Sonia Gandhi at her residence in New Delhi on Wednesday | PTI

Express News Service

RANCHI: The BJP’s seat tally in the tribal regions of Jharkhand is a cause for worry for the saffron party. Of the 28 seats reserved for tribals, BJP could win only on two as against 18 seats in 2014. Political experts attributed this to the unpopular anti-tribal policies of the CM Raghubar Das government. Attempts made by former CM Das’ government to change land laws protecting indigenous people’s rights over land, changes in domicile policy and anti-conversion Bill pushed by the CM are some of the reasons that proved fatal for the saffron party in the tribal belts.

The BJP has been washed out from Kolhan region, where as in 2014 the party had won five out of the 14 seats. Experts said that the over-confidence of BJP leaders after the 2019 Lok Sabha poll results was the primary factor behind this defeat. The anti-conversion Bill, to some extent, also played a role in BJP’s downfall. “Raghubar Das’ anti-tribal image and his arrogance resulted in the debacle. Attempts made by the state to make changes to the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act created a negative image of the BJP among the tribals, which reflected in voting trends during the Assembly polls,” said political analyst Jitendra Kumar.

CM’s negative remarks against JMM chief Shibu Soren, who is loved by the tribals, also fuelled the undercurrent against BJP, he added. Similarly, in Santhal Pargana, BJP could bag only four of the 18 seats while it had won seven in 2014 polls.

Chotanagpur is another tribal-dominated region, where BJP managed only 11 seats, out of the total 26, four down from 15 in 2014. A split in the BJP and AJSU vote bank in the region was another reasons for BJP’s defeat. Issues raised by the Opposition parties about their rights on jal, jungle and zameen questioning their self- respect, also proved to help win over voters.

Soren invites Sonia to oath ceremony
JMM’s Hemant Soren said there should be no doubt that the alliance government will last for five years. Soren, who met Congess president Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday, invited her to take part in the oath taking ceremony in Jharkhand on December 29. Sonia Gandhi, according to Soren, has assured that she will come to bless him. Sources said there will be five JMM ministers and four from the Congress. One ministerial berth may also be given each to RJD and JVM. Sources also claimed that the Speaker’s post will go to the Congress. Chances are Rameshwar Oraon is likely to become the Speaker.

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