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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

JMM to rake up 1932 khatian issue in tribal belts ahead of the Lok Sabha polls

In at least nine out of the 14 parliamentary seats in the state, the tribals, Dalits and moolvasis can tilt the scale in favour of the party

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 09.04.24, 08:35 AM
Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren with Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana during JMM legislators’ meeting in Ranchi last week.

Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren with Hemant Soren’s wife Kalpana during JMM legislators’ meeting in Ranchi last week. PTI picture

The JMM, which leads the coalition government in Jharkhand, has decided to rake up the 1932 khatian (land survey) issue ahead of the Lok Sabha polls to leverage the sentiments of tribals, Dalits and moolvasis.

In at least nine out of the 14 parliamentary seats in the state, the tribals, Dalits and moolvasis can tilt the scale in favour of the party.

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“Apart from the five ST reserved seats (Rajmahal, Dumka, Singhbhum, Khunti and Lohardaga) and one SC reserved seat (Palamau) where tribals and Dalits are the determining factors in polls fortunes, Mahatos (moolvasis) having a sizable population in general seats like Jamshedpur, capital Ranchi, Giridih and Dhanbad can easily swing poll fortunes,” a political observer said.

“We all know 1932 khatian is a sentimental issue and the JMM having consolidated tribal votes after Hemant Soren’s arrest is doing right to consolidate the Dalit and moolvasi voters to gain an upper hand even in several general seats,” he added.

On Monday, Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren posted on X about the 1932 khatian issue. “Our government brought a bill to determine domicile based on 1932 khatian keeping in view the interest of the masses. However, it has been stopped through a conspiracy,” he wrote in Hindi.

“The struggle for the rights of adivasis, moolvasis and general masses will continue. Sooner or later the Centre has to give these rights to the masses,” he added.

Champai assumed charge in February after Hemant was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate on January 31 in an alleged money-laundering case related to a land scam. He is currently under judicial custody in Ranchi jail.

Champai had raised the khaitan issue even during a meeting held at Giridih to pay tribute to former state education minister and JMM senior leader Jagarnath Mahato on his first death anniversary on Saturday.

The Jharkhand Definition for Local Persons and for Extending Consequential, Social, Cultural and Other Benefits to Such Local Persons Bill of 2022 has set the land survey settlements of 1932 as the benchmark for identifying the locals of the state.

The bill was passed in an extended monsoon session in November 2022 but was returned by the then governor Ramesh Bais stating that it violated the constitutional provisions.

In December last year, Assembly Speaker Rabindra Nath Mahto informed the House during the first day of the winter session that present governor C.P. Radhakrishnan had returned the bill for reconsideration.

JMM leaders, including Hemant, have in the past accused the Centre of using the governor to sit on the bill.

A JMM delegation had also sought an appointment with President Droupadi Murmu earlier this year to raise this issue. However, it claimed that the Rashtrapati Bhavan refused an appointment citing busy schedule.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had won 11 seats while its ally Ajsu had won one. Coalition partners Congress and the JMM had bagged one seat each.

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