By Dr. Gyan Pathak
Having emboldened by the success in Maharshtra, the BJP has just started its political game in Jharkhand to destabilize the Mahagathbandhan government led by JMM. Chief Minister Hemant Soren has just betrayed his commitment towards opposition unity and ditched the anti-BJP political parties by announcing support to BJP’s presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu. Under the thickness of the murky politics of BJP, the mystery behind it remains concealed, but the indications emanating from within and outside Jharkhand points towards beginning of a turbulent political phase in the state before it enters electioneering for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.
The indications include the almost direct revelation of the BJP’s game plan by the leader of the opposition and the BJP Suvendu Adhikari in neighbouring state West Bengal who said that after Maharashtra, BJP would also form governments in Jharkhand along with Rajasthan and West Bengal;. As regards Jharkhand, beginning of the hearing of “office of profit case” against CM Hemant Soren by the Election Commission of India; and the sword of Enforcement Directorate against him on account of mining license granted to him by his own officials, one of whom have already been raided and arrested with Rs 19 crore., are the signals that Hemant is under seige by the NDA government and the BJP leadership.
The month of May was important for two things: first, the Election Commission of India has served a show cause notice on Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren as to why he should not be disqualified for leasing a mine to himself; and the second, only days after this show cause ED conducted searches at a dozen premises in the state and neighbouring states of West Bengal and Bihar and seized 19.3 crore in cash. The ED is also probing a money laundering case related to irregularities in MGNREGA funds disbursement along with in alleged allocation of mining leases.
How active is BJP in its game plan is obvious from the tweet by BJP’s Godda MP Nishikant Dubey just after the ED raid that read “CM (Hemant Soren) himself being the mines minister allocated illegal mining leases to his relative, MLAs and stooges. Agencies received information regarding corruption and took action.”
As for the Election Commission notice to Hemant Soren, he had requested the EC to give him more time to appear before the Commission citing his preoccupation with the ongoing Rajya Sabha election and subsequently he was granted exemption from appearing in the matter.
BJP is known for allegedly exerting pressure on its political adversaries through central investigating agencies or through officials posted in constitutional bodies. Such pressures are often exerted at times converging with their political emergency, expediency, or need to destabilize or suppress political opponents, and therefore people tend to link them together as BJP’s political game plan rather genuine action as per the rule of law, the motto being “fall in line or else face the consequences.”
BJP’s pressure on Soren seems worked as far as getting support of JMM for BJP’s presidential candidate, with the face saving that his party supported an Adivasi candidate even if it amounted ditching the other political parties in the ruling political alliance of anti-BJP political parties, which is known as Mahagathbandhan the Grand alliance that was formed before the Lok Sabha Election 2019, which included Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), Indian National Congress (INC), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), and Communist Party of India (Marxist – Leninist) Liberation (CPI(ML) Liberation).
Hemant Soren the leader of the grand alliance against the BJP is now supporting the BJP’s presidential candidate is certainly goes against every political party in the alliance. Is it the result of the BJP’s game plan of simply breaking the grand alliance against itself in view of the coming Lok Sabha election in 2024? If yes, will the Hemant Soren could remain the Chief Minister in the state with support of the BJP or BJP will form its government after causing split or defection in JMM or other political parties and getting their support?
These questions would be answered by the turn of events in the political arena in the state. The precedence of JMM-BJP government in Jharkhand has increased the complexity of the political situation. A think tank within the BJP want only to break the grand alliance to weaken the joint political clout of the opposition party and support Hemant Soren to remain Chief Minister, while more aggressive strategist within the BJP want the party to take over the rein of power in the state before the Lok Sabha election 2014.
Is it possible for BJP to destabilize Hemant Soren government? The answer will be in affirmative, since JMM has only 30 members in the 81 member Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha, while the BJP has 25. NDA has a strength of 30 while the grand alliance led by Soren has 51. If the grand alliance is broken BJP, Soren government cannot survive on its own. In that case the state could be put under president’s rule and the BJP would indirectly exercise power in the state during the Lok Sabha election.
INC with 18, RJD with one, NCP with one, and CPI(ML)L with one seat in the Jharkhand Vidhan Sabha have become irked by the JMM decision to support the BJP’s presidential candidate on one hand, and have been feeling ignored by CM Soren for quite some time on the other. BJP have also been trying to engineer split in all the parties, barring the CPI(ML)L, in the Soren led grand alliance by putting pressure for corrupt dealings of many of them, and if it succeeds may form its own government before 2024 general election, once JMM is delinked from the grand alliance.
Jharkhand sends 14 MPs in Lok Sabha, and BJP has presently 11 seats from the state. JMM, INC, and Ajsu Party have one seat each. In the present political scenario in the country, it is of utmost importance for the BJP to not only retain all its present seats but also get all 14 which seems possible if the grand alliance led by JMM is broken. (IPA Service)