By Arun Srivastava
Last week Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren got a relief from the Supreme Court with it setting aside a high court order upholding the maintainability of a public interest litigation (PIL) for a probe against the chief minister in a mining lease case but Hemant is not content with this gain instead he is contemplating to resort to political action against the manoeuvrings of the BJP which has been planning to implicate him in the case and make him lose membership of the assembly.
The Election Commission adopting a proactive stance and seeking Governor’s opinion whether he could be debarred from the membership of the house has rang the political death knell for Hemant. Sources close to Hemant confide that once the Gujarat assembly elections are over the BJP leadership, especially Amit Shah would once again launch his campaign to destabilise the Hemant led Mahagathbandhan government in Jharkhand. Apprehensions are also being expressed that he may be arrested in mining case.
Narendra Modi and Shah are desperate to have the state under their wings as with Hemant in power they are finding it tough to fulfil the aspirations and needs of their big business friends. Already some senior lawyers from Delhi visited the state and collected some material and info about Hemant and his government. The lawyers had also met the Governor of Jharkhand. JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya had claimed: “We met him at Raj Bhavan and he assured us that he will take a stand within a few days.” But the meeting of Governor with the JMM leaders could not take place. Incidentally governor Ramesh Bais on Friday left for New Delhi. This has triggered a wide speculation that the Union government may come up with some action against Hemant.
Hemant on his part has started broad basing his struggle against the BJP government and in his effort he is also planning to reach out to particularly the Adivasi people. As a first step in the direction to strengthen his relation with the Congress, Hemant has sent a group of its leaders to join the Congress’s Bharat Jodo Yatra in Madhya Pradesh. He has sent its state water resource minister and Garhwa MLA Mithilesh Thakur along with senior Congress leaders. JMM central general secretary and spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya said; “It was a spontaneous decision taken with the approval of the chief minister Hemant Soren. We wanted to show our solidarity with the issues raised during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.”
The state Congress president Rajesh Thakur, Congress legislative party leader and minister Alamgir Alam, agriculture minister Badal Patralekh, health minister Banna Gupta, along with Jharkhand convener of Bharat Jodo Yatra and former Union minister Subodh Kant Sahay along with other leaders left for Indore on a flight from Ranchi on Monday noon. The names were finalised by the Hemant government.
As a part of its outreach programme Hemant will pay its first interim relief to drought-affected farmers on December 29, which marks the completion of three years of the JMM-Congress-RJD government in the state. Sources in the chief minister’s secretariat in Ranchi said Hemant Soren would be doling out the interim assistance of Rs 3,500 to some of the farmers at a function in the capital city on December 29.
The government has asked the deputy commissioners to create maximum awareness among the farmers on a mission mode so that the maximum number of farmers can benefit from the interim relief on December 29. However, it would be an ongoing process and those who are left out can complete the verification and get the interim assistance even after December 29. This is a major move of the Hemant to reach out to the farmers.
Meanwhile the sources point out that the JMM is planning to build a strong farmers agitation for realising the minimum support price and get other benefits for which they are entitled. There are three categories of farmers who have been identified in Jharkhand — landless cultivators, landed cultivators whose crops have been damaged and those cultivators who could not sow their paddy due to drought. All of them are eligible for financial assistance.
Only during the last session of the assembly the Hemant government had announced increase in the reservation. In continuity of the move at the Tribal Development Council (TAC) at its meeting chaired by chief minister Hemant Soren in Ranchi last week made it clear that the ST reservation should be maintained in scheduled areas with a tribal majority population and in municipal areas too. With this civic body polls in Jharkhand, scheduled to be held in December, have been deferred to facilitate the implementation of the reservation decision. Earlier the Governor Ramesh Bais had given consent to the proposal of the state election commission to hold elections in all the 48 municipal bodies of the state but now in the changed situation it would take several months to decide the schedule for fresh elections.
This step of the Government would provide ample opportunity to Hemant to consolidate his hold on the Tribal voters as it is expected that candidates pawing allegiance to JMM would sweep the polls. This will also deny the BJP the opportunity to use the local level bodies to manoeuvre the things according to their desire and political convenience which suits the interest of the big business houses in grabbing the land.
Hemant has also prioritised the welfare of the tribal girl child and ensure that they do not become the victims of the trafficking. Hemant has asked the officials to keep a strict watch on the traffickers. All the districts have been given strict instructions by the women and child development department to maintain vigil. Trafficking has been a very sensitive issue and has been causing much concern amongst the Adivasi people.
In a statement he said; “Every measure is being taken to ensure the rehabilitation of girls rescued from the clutches of the traffickers. They are being provided Rs 2,000 per month as living expense until they attain 18 years of age. Apart from that, the girls are also entitled to free education, and vocational training which would help them become self-reliant”.
He emphasised that migrant labourers are being provided with welfare benefits and jobs in accordance with their skill sets. He also revealed that his government will come up with a detailed plan for rehabilitation of children who have lost their parents to COVID-19. (IPA Service)