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Droupadi Murmu to visit Ranchi to garner support

The former Jharkhand governor is expected to meet leaders of major political parties and seek their support for the presidential election slated for July 18
Droupadi Murmu
Droupadi Murmu
File picture

Achintya Ganguly   |   Ranchi   |   Published 04.07.22, 12:13 AM

Droupadi Murmu, former Jharkhand governor and the NDA’s presidential candidate, will arrive in Ranchi on Monday to garner the support of MLAs and MPs elected from the state.

“We just got the information that she will arrive tomorrow (Monday) morning,” BJP state spokesperson Pratul Shahdeo said, adding that the confirmation message reached them late on Sunday afternoon. 

Murmu is expected to meet the leaders of major political parties and seek their support for the presidential election slated for July 18.

While she is assured of support from the BJP and its ally Ajsu party and the Congress has already extended support to her opponent Yashwant Sinha, her meeting JMM leaders would be of more significance as that party is still undecided about who to support. 

Though the JMM leaders discussed the matter during a meeting on June 25, they did not come out with any conclusion and instead left it to party supremo Shibu Soren to decide. 

The party is now expected to announce its decision after another meeting to be held soon. 

“The BJP played the tribal card well and put the JMM in such a situation that it’s now very difficult for the party to compromise with its pro-tribal image,” a political observer said. 

Even otherwise, the JMM, particularly its executive president and chief minister Hemant Soren, had a cordial relation with Murmu when she was the state's governor.

But the tribal card that the BJP played did not actually help that party itself if the recent Mandar byelection was any indication. 

Despite the NDA announcing the name of Murmu  as its presidential candidate just before the bypoll, the BJP lost the Mandar seat, reserved for the Scheduled Tribes, by a huge margin of over 23,500 votes.

It signified that the party failed to regain the confidence of the tribals of the state that it had lost in the 2019 Assembly elections due to a number of reasons. 

The earlier BJP government in the state, led by chief minister Raghubar Das, tried to amend the tenancy laws to facilitate acquisition of land for setting up industries and it did not go well with the tribals of the state who feared their rights on the land was threatened. 

They were further disillusioned as the BJP government at the Centre did not pay any heed to their demand for inclusion of Sarna in the column meant for registering religion in the census form.

“So the JMM may even ultimately gain, if it supports Murmu’s candidature,” the observer said, arguing that the gesture will help the party keep its tribal vote bank intact as it will tell the tribal voters that, despite being nominated by the NDA, the JMM supported Murmu only because she is a tribal lady.

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