United Oppn under Soren a fort BJP can't easily breach in J'khand

By IANS | Published: February 5, 2023 01:03 PM2023-02-05T13:03:03+5:302023-02-05T13:15:13+5:30

Ranchi, Feb 5 Politically, 2023 and 2024 are going to be very crucial for Jharkhand. The political atmosphere ...

United Oppn under Soren a fort BJP can't easily breach in J'khand | United Oppn under Soren a fort BJP can't easily breach in J'khand

United Oppn under Soren a fort BJP can't easily breach in J'khand

Ranchi, Feb 5 Politically, 2023 and 2024 are going to be very crucial for Jharkhand. The political atmosphere in the state has stirred up ahead of February 27 by-poll for the Ramgarh assembly seat.

Besides the Ramgarh by-poll, 2023 will also see elections for 49 municipal bodies in the state that are likely to be held within the next three-four months. Further, the first half of 2024 will see the Lok Sabha elections that will be followed by the Assembly polls in the second half of the year (November-December).

The results of these elections will largely be dependent on the alliances and maintaining mutual unity among the constituents of both the NDA and UPA camps.

Considering the current political scenario in the state, it is a fact that Chief Minister Hemant Soren will be an important pivot in all these elections.

The by-election on Ramgarh assembly seat was necessitated as the membership of Congress's Mamta Devi, who won the seat in 2019, was revoked after she was sentenced to seven years of imprisonment in a criminal case by the Hazaribagh district court.

AJSU, an ally of the NDA, has fielded Sunita Devi, wife of Giridih MP Chandraprakash Chaudhary, from the Ramgarh seat. In 2019 too, she was the AJSU's candidate from the seat, but was defeated. During the 2019 elections, the AJSU and the BJP had contested the elections separately; while this time the AJSU's candidate is being supported by the BJP.

On the other hand, the UPA - having the support of JMM and the RJD, has decided to field Congress' candidate from the Ramgarh seat. Even, JMM leader and Chief Minister Hemant Soren is very much involved in this by-poll as his native village is a part of Ramgarh assembly constituency.

Soren's presence in the election campaign for the Congress candidate is also believed to be certain.

After 2019, by-elections have been held in four assembly seats in the state - Dumka, Bermo, Madhupur and Mandar, and in all the four by-elections, the ruling coalition (UPA) led by Soren has emerged victorious.

It is expected that after the Ramgarh assembly by-election, the announcement regarding the municipal polls in the state can be made. These elections were proposed in December 2022, but due to the dispute over reservation on the post of mayor, the government postponed the elections. Now, as the government has taken the decision on the issue, it is likely that the elections will be held in April-May.

Although the elections for the municipal bodies will not be held on party lines, yet there will be vigorous efforts by both the UPA and the NDA camps to ensure the victory of their respective supporters. The number of BJP supporters was the maximum among those who won the last municipal elections.

The ruling coalition led by Soren is also discussing about fielding joint candidates for important posts of municipal bodies.

Of all these elections, the most crucial one will be the 2024 Lok Sabha polls. Both NDA and UPA have started working on strategies to turn the political equation in the state in their favour.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah, one of the BJP's top election strategists, launched the election campaign in the state on January 7 with a 'Vijay Sankalp' rally in Jharkhand's Chaibasa.

In his rally, Shah's main target was not Congress but Hemant Soren as the JMM leader is the biggest challenge before BJP or NDA.

Without wasting time, Soren responded to Shah's attack and held a big rally under 'Khatiyani Johar Yatra' - a programme to mark three years of the UPA government in the state - in Chaibasa on January 24.

In the rally, Soren said that he has come to seek the blessings of all. "Give us 15 years, and Jharkhand will be above Gujarat. Manuwadis, Biharis and people of Uttar Pradesh will be chased away from here," he added.

Soren and his party have a strong hold on the tribal vote bank in the state. The BJP knows that the more successful it is in cornering this vote bank, the easier it will be for them to win the Lok Sabha and the assembly elections.

On the other hand, Soren while running the government in the state is taking important decisions one after the other on ground, and is picking up emotional issues related to tribals and natives of Jharkhand.

With his decisions such as domicile policy based on 1932 Khatiyan of 1932, increase in OBC-SC-ST reservation, 75 per cent reservation for local people in private companies for posts with salary up to Rs 40,000, Soren has strengthened his position in the state.

Despite not fully agreeing with Soren on multiple fronts, allies Congress and the RJD are standing with him in the state. The reason for this is that both these parties know that at present it is difficult to survive in electoral politics of the state without JMM.

Jharkhand has 14 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2019 general elections, NDA bagged 12 seats - BJP (11) and AJSU (1). However, repeating the same performance in 2024 would be a big challenge for the NDA.

The state had a BJP-led government during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, while at present there is a JMM-led coalition government in the state.

If the current coalition government remains in power till 2024, the UPA can get the advantage of contesting elections as would have better resources.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the UPA, comprising RJD, JMM, Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha, could win just two seats in the state. Jharkhand Vikas Morcha has now disbanded.

There is a possibility that this time JMM, Congress and RJD will contest the Lok Sabha elections together, and Soren will be the biggest pivot of this unity.

Presently, there is no major issue in their alliance and unity. In such a situation, it will be interesting to see to what extent this alliance led by Soren will be able to make an impact in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections and subsequent assembly elections.

Disclaimer: This post has been auto-published from an agency feed without any modifications to the text and has not been reviewed by an editor

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