BJP Gets Busy Meddling in Jharkhand Ruling Coalition
RANCHI, (IANS) – After being out of power in Jharkhand following its defeat in the 2019 Assembly elections, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is trying to alter the political equations of the state.
BJP’s sharp political moves in recent months have put the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress-Rashtriya Janata Dal coalition government, which is ruling Jharkhand for the last two-and-a-half years, under pressure.
It is being widely speculated that after toppling the Shiv Sena-Congress-NCP coalition government in Maharashtra, Jharkhand is the next target of BJP’s ‘Operation Lotus’ mission.
The BJP is trying to deflect the attention of the present Jharkhand government by reaching out to it seeking support for NDA Presidential candidate Draupadi Murmu, while on the other hand it is using central investigating agencies like the CBI, ED, Income Tax etc. to instill fear, especially among Jharkhand Chief Minister and JMM President Hemant Soren.
In the last 20-25 days, JMM and BJP have adopted a friendly approach towards each other for the Presidential election, but earlier both the parties took political jibes at each other.
This change in approach adopted by the BJP is touted to be a part of ‘Operation Lotus’.
On June 27, Hemant Soren met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi. After Soren returned to Ranchi, the old political rivalry between the BJP and JMM has almost ended.
In the July 18 Presidential election, JMM has announced that it will support NDA’s candidate Draupadi Murmu.
Earlier, the UPA and other opposition parties had called a meeting to decide a joint Opposition Presidential candidate in which several JMM leaders were also present.
JMM founder Shibu Soren has said that it is a matter of pride for the country that Murmu will be the first tribal woman President, so his party has announced to lend support to the NDA in the upcoming Presidential election.
This political move announced by the JMM is a major setback for its Jharkhand ally Congress.
During the Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand held in June, the JMM had fielded its candidate while rejecting Congress’ “strong claims” of fielding its own candidate on one seat. Within last two months, the Congress has suffered two major political setbacks because of JMM’s political moves.
Jharkhand Congress President Rajesh Thakur said, “JMM lending support to Draupadi Murmu will have no impact on my party’s alliance with the JMM in Jharkhand. The JMM-Congress alliance was formed only to run the government in the state, and not for the upcoming Presidential election.”
On the other hand, the Leader of Opposition in Jharkhand Assembly and BJP member Babulal Marandi said, “JMM’s decision to support NDA’s Presidential candidate is in the interest of the country. JMM may have announced this decision late, but it is surely the right one.”
Since the inception of JMM, it has always made important political decisions keeping the party’s interests over everything.
During the Presidential election in 2012, the then BJP-JMM-AJSU coalition was ruling Jharkhand. At that time, the JMM had supported UPA Presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee over BJP’s P.A. Sangma.
Within a few months after the 2012 Presidential election, the BJP-led alliance government was toppled in Jharkhand as its ally JMM withdrew support.
Later, after President’s Rule was imposed in Jharkhand for a few months, the JMM formed the government with Congress.
The big question here arises is that given the present situation, will the JMM break alliance with the Congress and again unite with old ally BJP?
Hemant Soren is facing political pressure as he is being questioned by the Election Commission, there are pending court cases against him, while an investigation is being conducted by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
The BJP has filed a complaint with the Election Commission against the Jharkhand Chief Minister related to allegations of office of profit, asking the EC to disqualify him as a member of the state Assembly.
The process of hearing in connection with the office of profit charges are pending before the EC.
Two public interest litigations have been filed against Hemant Soren in Jharkhand, which could further land him in trouble.
The ED on July 15 said it has seized Rs 11.88 crore of cash kept in the bank accounts of Pankaj Mishra, the political representative of Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, and others as part of a money laundering investigation into alleged illegal mining in the state.
The ED in May had raided IAS officer Pooja Singhal, her businessman husband, and others as part of a money laundering investigation against them.
In the coming days, such political developments will have an impact on the current political equations in the state.