DC Edit | Slick Management Enables JMM Triumph In Jharkhand

The confidence vote won by the Champai Soren ministry in the Jharkhand Assembly was a crucial test not only for his party, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, and the alliance it leads in the state but also for the larger I.N.D.I.A. bloc of Opposition parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections. The vote has given the Opposition a reason to claim that it has frustrated the attempts by the BJP to use law enforcement agencies of the Union government to effect regime change in states which are ruled by parties opposed to the NDA alliance.

The vote was conducted in a background that would give a party no reason to be proud of in normal circumstances. Its chief minister Hemant Soren had to resign after he was taken into custody by the Enforcement Directorate in a case registered under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). However, one must not lose sight of the factor that Mr Soren is one of the dozens of the Opposition leaders being investigated by the agency with a dubious history of prosecution. Given the wide powers the Act bestows on the agency and the tough and impossible conditions it imposes on the courts to grant bail to the accused, the ED has become the choicest tool of the BJP government to hunt down Opposition leaders. It may be recalled that the agency successfully vitiated the political scene barely weeks before the Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh, putting then chief minister Bhupesh Baghel in the shadow of suspicions. That the agency has not yet named Mr Baghel as an accused in the case gives away the plot it was acting on.
The JMM has conducted itself adroitly in the face of unprecedented uncertainties. It has managed a leadership change forced on it by external factors with relative ease, given its potential to create divisions within. By choosing a person not related to the outgoing leader, the party also managed to escape the NDA charge that another of the I.N.D.I.A. bloc party is sold to dynastic politics. It is not that there was no voice of dissent against the party leadership but it gained very little traction.
It is a matter of shame that the JMM and its allies had to take the MLAs to another state to avoid poaching by the opponents. While the ruling alliance has little faith in its own members, the BJP, which has tasted blood with its infamous ‘operation lotus’ in several states, is waiting in the wings ready to pounce on the MLAs at the opportune time. Both the players have reduced the popular mandate into a charade of dishonest politics.
The reality of India is that the Opposition parties have not only to fight their political rival if it is BJP; they have to be prepared with a plan ‘B’ to follow as and when the central agencies descend on them. The I.N.D.I.A. bloc has escaped the Jharkhand challenge by a whisker; a loss there, coming close on the heels of the Congress defeat in the Assembly elections in the Hindi heartland, would have shaken the foundations of the coalition. It must now get its act together for taking on bigger tasks ahead.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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