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regular-article-logo Sunday, 21 July 2024

JMM banks on populist schemes to counter BJP's polarisation narrative ahead of Jharkhand polls

In two public programmes in Seraikela-Kharsawan and Jamshedpur, Champai Soren announced 200 units of electricity free for domestic consumers, financial assistance for all women between the ages of 25 years and 50 years, government jobs to nearly 40,000 youths and farm loan waiver upto ₹2 lakh

Animesh Bisoee Jamshedpur Published 18.06.24, 09:40 AM
Champai Soren during a programme in Jamshedpur on Sunday.

Champai Soren during a programme in Jamshedpur on Sunday. Picture by Bhola Prasad

The ruling coalition of JMM-Congress-RJD in Jharkhand is aiming to approach the Assembly polls scheduled later this year banking on a slew of populist schemes to ward off challenges from the BJP, which on Monday appointed in-charges for the states that are going to polls.

Jharkhand chief minister Champai Soren who took over the reins of the state in February (after former chief minister Hemant Soren was arrested following his resignation by the Enforcement Directorate on January 31, 2024, over alleged money laundering charges) is learnt to have received the go-ahead from the JMM executive president Hemant Soren (currently under judicial custody in Ranchi central jail) during his recent meeting in jail to go all out with populist schemes to counter the “religious polarisation” narrative of the BJP for the Assembly polls.

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“We have seen what BJP senior leaders including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union home minister Amit Shah, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma (who was on Monday appointed as the co-in charge for Jharkhand Assembly polls while Union agriculture minister and former MP chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan was appointed in-charge) did during their rallies in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Hemant ji has asked Champai da to go all out with populist measures to counter the BJP’s religious polarization narrative which they are going to repeat in the run-up to Assembly polls,” said a close aide of Champai Soren.

Champai Soren met Hemant Soren at Birsa Munda Central Jail last week.

In two back-to-back public programmes (first after lifting of model code of conduct) in Seraikela-Kharsawan and Jamshedpur on Sunday, Champai Soren announced 200 units of electricity free for domestic consumers, financial assistance for all women between the ages of 25 years and 50 years, government jobs to nearly 40,000 youths and loan waiver upto 2 lakh for farmers.

“The ruling coalition as evident during the Lok Sabha poll results has the support of the tribals and minorities (it won all the ST reserved Lok Sabha seats including wresting three from BJP). Now it wants to woo women and general masses to enhance its vote bank ahead of the Assembly polls,” said Ranchi-based Faisal Anurag, a senior political columnist with vernacular dailies.

“All the announcements made by the chief minister will be executed after completion of formalities (nod of the Cabinet and Assembly) in next couple of months,” said Dharmendra Goswami, media advisor to the chief minister.

The chief minister announced in the public programmes in Jamshedpur and Seraikela that officials had been directed to complete the recruitment process for government vacancies as soon as possible.

He also announced that loans up to 2 lakh would be waived for farmers. Jharkhand has been receiving scanty rainfall for two years successively. The government had last year announced a loan waiver of up to 50,000.

The government which had last year removed the age slab for pension of widowed women has now gone a step ahead to provide financial packages to all women between the ages of 25 and 50 years belonging to weaker financial strata.

The government had earlier given free electricity up to 125 units for domestic consumers. It has also started providing pensions to all Dalits and ST persons above the age of 50 years.

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