The Jharkhand government Monday won the trust vote 48-0 in the 82-member Assembly, showing the coalition’s strength amidst the political turmoil in the state. Chief Minister Hemant Soren accused the BJP of trying to fell his government and the coalition scored a political point by hinting at a new domicile policy and OBC reservations in the state.
The five key takeaways from the ‘trust vote’ on September 5:
1. Without naming Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Soren did not leave any opportunity to target him, pitting his governance and politics versus the Centre’s. The anger that Soren barely contained was quite a departure from the red carpet his government had laid out for Modi when he came to inaugurate the Deoghar Airport, which was then seen as the CM’s way of deflecting the heat from Enforcement Directorate raids and a CBI inquiry.
He also made a direct appeal to his core Adivasi electorate, urging them to not get fooled by the BJP’s “double standards”, saying that while it was tom-tomming making a tribal (Droupadi Murmu) the President of the country, it was leaving no stone unturned to oust an Adivasi CM like him.
Soren talked about his government’s Covid-19 management, saying it was “much better” than that of BJP governments. The Jharkhand government had flown down migrants belonging to the state from various corners, and the reference was perhaps to the fact that migrants had been forced to walk hundreds of kilometres following the sudden lockdown by the Centre.
Soren accused the Centre of not even being able to pay pension money – the payment is often delayed and contingent to conditions. The Jharkhand government has introduced a Universal Pension Scheme, which does not have any cap and involves a fixed payment of Rs 1,000 per person.
2. The CM, who has been on the defensive over the controversy involving his government allotting a mine licence to his family firm, which could now see him disqualified as an MLA, seemed to have put that behind him as the Governor dawdles over the Election Commission’s recommendation in the case.
One reason for this new-found confidence is the confusion, even among legal experts, over whether the ownership of the said mine by Soren set him up for disqualification. And that even if disqualified, would he need to resign as CM? Should that not be the case, he could return as an MLA via a bypoll in six months.
3) Soren conclusively sent across the message to the people and the Opposition through the ‘trust vote’ that the ruling coalition had no cracks, “no puzzle and hesitancy” in standing behind him. And that, if at all MLAs defect in the days to come, it would be a ‘crisis created by the BJP rather than due to the instability within the government.
4) Soren also took a swipe at the Election Commission, noting that BJP MLA Samri Lal, elected from Kanke on a ‘false caste certificate’, had escaped its scrutiny. The reference was to the action taken by the EC in his case.
5) In a direct outreach to people of the tribal community, he said his government had done its bit on the Sarna Code, recognising that tribals follow their own religion, and had recommended to the Centre that it be included in the Census list. What had the BJP done to get it approved from the Centre, Soren asked.
Earlier, the first speaker for the ruling alliance, JMM Giridih MLA Sudivya Kumar, while declaring that “Hemant hai to Vishwaas hai (Wherever there is Hemant, there is trust)” , criticised former BJP CM Raghubar Das for having fixed the cutoff date of land records to fix domicile at 1985. Kumar requested the Speaker and the government to make it 1932, daring the BJP to protest. “32 ki aag ko jo chuega to bhasm ho jayega. Inki rajneeti khatam ho jayegi (Anyone who goes against the 1932 cut off…Their political career will be over).”
In Jharkhand, deep sentiments prevail against setting the 1985 cutoff date, which would lead to inclusion a lot of people as natives of the state. The demand of tribal outfits is that the date be set at 1932, when a survey of land records in Jharkhand was done under the British.