Hemant Soren became the new Chief Minister of Jharkhand and now his coalition government has a humungous task of keeping the promises which they had made during their election campaign.
After a dramatic end to the assembly elections in Jharkhand, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Hemant Soren was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of the state. The opposition has said that this was the beginning of the end of the BJP-era in the country. Now how much of it will be true is for us to wait and watch.
During the oath-taking ceremony a host of leaders like Rahul Gandhi, the DMK’s MK Stalin and MK Kanimozhi, RJD’s Tejashwi Yadav, Aam Aadmi Party’s Sanjay Singh, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yachuri, former JD(U) leader Sharad Yadav and Hindustani Awam Morcha’s Jitan Ram Manjhi along with Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee and her Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh counterparts.
Hemant Soren along with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal performed extremely well at the elections in Jharkhand and took over as the new government. However, winning was just one part of the game. Now the main challenge will be to survive as a non-BJP leader government in the state. Soren’s first task is to keep the coalition together and also handle the demands of the allies. In order to challenge the BJP, the non-BJP parties are getting together however, this is providing mixed results. For example in Karnataka, the Janata Dal (Secular)-Congress the government had internal feuds and then collapsed. In Maharashtra, the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Congress have formed a government and it is quite early to decide what the outcome will be. The advantage of Soren is that the non-BJP parties and coalitions value the significance of unity. The other challenge which is even more difficult is to keep up with the promises which the JMM and Congress have made in front of the people. Both the parties came out with different manifestos and they made extensive promises and the implementation of these would result in legal as well as financial implications.
The promises include loan waivers to farmers, higher minimum support price for paddy, and an unemployment allowance to jobless young people. Both the parties have promised that they will fill up all job vacancies in Jharkhand in six months time. The parties have also promised to increase reservations of OBC in the state from 14 per cent to 27 per cent. These promises helped the parties to garner votes but will not be so easy to implement.
As per a senior official, such kind of promises will be of the financial burden to the exchequer. The annual cost of implementing the Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwaad Yojna in the current fiscal by the outgoing government is estimated to be around Rs 3,000 crore. The promise of unemployment allowance would also add to the pressure. So a lot of work needs to be done to chalk out a plan before the implementation of any policy. A flagship programme of the outgoing Raghubar Das government which is called the Mukhyamantri Krishi Ashirwaad Yojna promises financial help to around 3.5 million farmers in the state with a landholding of up to 5 acres. An amount of Rs 5,000 per acre every year is provided to the farmers. So as per people familiar to the situation has said that the state exchequer is already overburdened financially because the Centre has not yet granted the state’s share of Goods and Services Tax (GST) which is around Rs 800 crore. Just like financial implications, some decisions will also have legal implications according to a senior JMM leader as he said that few laws would have to be changed. Another significant issue for both the parties has been eradicating unemployment. Both have promised that they will fill up vacancies when they are in power. Now while the Congress said that this problem of unemployment will be solved in six months the JMM has promised to amend the domicile and employment policy for the benefit of the locals which would involve legislative amendments. The JMM leader also stated that they are aware of the challenges and hope to settle them as soon as possible with the help of a common minimum programme.
In Jharkhand, one of the major concerns is food production and scarcity and there have been reports of starvation deaths from the state in recent years. The new government will have to work extensively on the development and welfare programmes for the state. The government will also have to work on the development of rural and tribal welfare to completely attain its developmental goal. The JMM-led coalition requires to reorient itself to the original time of the movement when the Jharkhand government was formed in the first place. This would call for bringing in a sustainable model for development which would benefit the people of the state.
While campaigning Hemant Soren knew the people he will have to tap in order to rise to power. He knew who his voters would be and therefore portrayed the gamcha as his identity during his campaigns to cater to the rural landscapes of the state. The stronghold of JMM has essentially been the Santhal Pargana which comprises largely of tribal population. So he will have to make sure that this community is well taken care of and will have to work for their development.