Dumka, March 16: JVM supremo Babulal Marandi today promised the tribal communities that his party alone could help them come out of their plight, in a fresh bid to dent the JMM vote bank in Santhal Pargana.
Marandi was addressing about 10,000 party workers who had come from across the six districts of the region to attend a two-day conference at the picturesque Hizla Mela grounds.
“The tribals from this part of the country started migrating in large numbers since the British era, which unfortunately has continued even after Independence and the creation of Jharkhand,” Marandi said, referring to the underprivileged background of tribals residing in other states.
He said that besides migration triggered by industrialisation, tribals were now forced to go to faraway states in search of livelihood.
“Tribal girls are being exploited in Delhi and other big cities where they are employed in large numbers. But the party claiming to be the only saviour of tribals remains indifferent for the sake of being in power,” Marandi said, referring to JMM, amid slogans of Bhrastachar mitana hai Babulal ko lana hai and Bhikh nahin adhikar chahiye JVM ki sarkar chahiye.
The former chief minister said both JMM and BJP were only concerned about staying in power and blind to the fate of tribals.
He added that few tribals lived to be above 60, as they were grappling with malnutrition.
Prominent among others who attended the conference were party MLAs from Santhal Pargana Pradeep Yadav (Poraiyahat) and Mistry Soren (Maheshpur) and president of the JVM tribal morcha Siddeswar Munda.
Marandi, who was instrumental in establishing BJP’s support base in Santhal Pargana, had won the prestigious Dumka Lok Sabha seat twice, defeating JMM chief Shibu Soren and his wife Rupi. Later, he represented Koderma after parting ways with the BJP.
“Babulal Marandi’s JVM has a strong presence in the Assembly, with as many as 11 MLAs. The tribal conference shows he believes that establishing a strong base in Santhal Pargana is the key to political clout in the state,” said an observer.
Last year, Marandi’s vocal support and dharna for the cause of tribals displaced by Panem Coal Mines in Pakur and a campaign for proper facilities for students in welfare hostels are seen as attempts to gain a toehold in the region’s politics.