Ranchi: The economic slowdown could emerge as the Frankenstein’s monster for the ruling BJP in Jharkhand. One of the “poorest states”, a lack of industry and development have contributed to rising unemployment in the state. UNDP data indicate that nearly “46 per cent of the state is living in poverty,” a key issue being raised by the BJP is the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Though the experiment of the nationalist and Hindutva cards in Maharashtra did not work well for the party, the Jharkhand BJP displays confidence about returning to power, though it may be tricky: within the party it is whispered that Chief Minister Raghubar Das “failed to perform.”
Trouble keeps gnawing at the saffron heels: just a few days back, party spokesman Praveen Prabhakar quit the party. He’s expected to contest the Assembly election from Nala on a National Peoples’ Party (NPP) ticket. The BJP, however, brushed him aside claiming he “had no influence whatsoever in the state.”
Charged up after the turn of events in Mahara-shtra, the Congress has come out all guns blazing. The Congress is in allian-ce with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Rashtriya Janata Dal.
This correspondent caught up with the party’s campaign committee head, Subodh Kant Sahay, and found the party is attacking where it thinks hurts the BJP the most — on the economy. “Not even a single puncture-repair shop has been opened in the state under the BJP’s double engine ki sarkaar (BJP central and state government),” he told this newspaper. “The CM has only signed MoUs, while 90 per cent of industries have shut down.”
The second arrow in the Congress quiver will be tribal-related issues. In the land of Birsa Munda where 26 per cent population is tribal, the Congr-ess is trying to rally them against the OBC CM. “The CM is not a son of the soil and has no knowledge about tribal customs or culture,” Sahay said.
The Congress is also exploiting the ongoing trouble over the “Pathalgarhi movement”, which considers a gram sabha as an autonomous unit. It seeks to challenge the right of the Indian state to govern tribal areas without violating the law. The movement’s protests are spreading rapidly and the government has cracked down on the agitators. Sahay mentioned sedition cases against 15,000 tribals filed by the government.
The CM had claimed only 36 arrests. “The BJP finds Pathalgarhi anti-national. The government has amended the rules to benefit business houses and plunder forests and mines that belong to the tribals,” Sahay alleged. “BJP zameen bhi legi aur tribals ki jaan bhi.” Notwithstanding opposition attacks, BJP spin doctors want a “blend of local and national issues.”...