The result of the Jharkhand assembly election is against the bad governance of the Raghubar Das sarkar for the last five years. It seems that the people of the state disagreed with their own decision of voting in favor of the BJP/Modi at the centre. After the parliament election in May 2019, this is the third consecutive loss for the BJP after Haryana and Maharashtra. However, in Haryana, they managed to be in power somehow. But Maharashtra was disastrous for the BJP; they lost the state power, and it also marked the end of their three-decade-old electoral and ideological alliance with Shiv Sena.
The JMM-Congress-RJD alliance in Jharkhand was well-formulated. They projected Hemant Soren as their CM nominee, and this poll strategy gave a clear option to the voters. All the three parties contested the election to win, giving their hundred per cent. They continuously brought up the people’s issues in the election campaign.
The mandate of Jharkhand is very crisp and clear to the alliance: it is meant for the rights and dignity of the Adivasi’s, Jal, Jangal aur Jameen (water, Forest and land). There was fear among the Adivasis of losing their land. As the state government tried to amend the Chottanagpur and Santhal Pargana Tenancy Act, changes were made in the land acquisition laws. Even though this proposal for change in the land laws was dropped, the opposition kept it alive. The people were suspicious of the previous government. They feared that if they came into power again, this might be their priority.
Jharkhand is one of the states where lynching incidents have happened. People were killed, and their houses were burned based on suspicions or rumors. The role of the state machinery was not to remain silent but to punish the culprits. Contrary to that, a union minister garlanded a suspect in one such case when he came out on bail.
It seems that PM Modi’s charisma isn’t working, despite the historic work done by the central government, as BJP had claimed during the election campaign in Jharkhand. Be it the abrogation of Article 370, the Citizenship Amendment Act or the Ram Mandir dispute; the BJP did not miss any chance to take credit for these to gain votes.
The election result of Jharkhand has proved that the prospect of a Ram Mandir does not excite common people, and certainly, it cannot be used to convert them into a vote bank. During the election rally, Home Minister Amit Shah promised to construct a sky-high temple within four months.
In fact, in the campaign at the Jamtara Assembly segment, UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath asked the voters, if some Irfan will win the election, how will the Ram Temple be constructed? Interestingly, the said Congress candidate from Jamtara, Dr Irfan Ansari, defeated the BJP candidate with a huge margin. The people of the Jamtara rejected the slogans of hatred. This is the reality of our India.
This is a huge opportunity for the Soren-led government in Ranchi to reassure the people of Jharkhand about their concerns. The Soren government will have to provide transparent and effective governance in the state where for the last five years, the people, especially from marginalized sections, have felt distrust and disconnect. There are many issues on which they will have to take action immediately. A task-force to take stock of the issues related to the Adivasis, and a special court should be established to hear the cases related to lynchings. And the new government should also re-look at the government programs related to education, health, jobs, etc.