Shoumojit Banerjee

Would be carefully working out the issues of land displacement, says Yashwant Sinha

‘Only anti-people MoUs to be annulled’

‘Only JMM has a grasp of naxal problem’

RANCHI: With Shibu Soren set to take charge of Jharkhand’s affairs this Wednesday, erstwhile sworn adversaries Bharatiya Janata Party and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha are hinting at mutual accommodation of each other’s policies in order to make the tripartite arrangement of the BJP-JMM-AJSU work.

Big industrial concerns have always looked towards the BJP in the past and have been wary of Mr. Soren’s tribal policies advocating overzealous preservation of the tribal way of life.

During interviews, Mr. Soren has indicated that “only those MoUs which were anti-people would be annulled”, indicating a softening of his previously rabid anti-MoU stance.

Speaking to The Hindu, former Union Minister and Hazaribagh MP Yashwant Sinha said on Monday that “both the BJP and the JMM would be carefully working out the issues of land displacement in their Common Minimum Programme.”

“We certainly disapprove of forcible land acquisition. But we will have to work out the issues of compensation and forcible land acquisition together,” he added. Brushing aside accusations of political opportunism levelled at the BJP in allying itself with the JMM, Mr. Sinha stated that “the aim was to ensure that the objective of a possible government formation is fulfilled”.

The other factor that has raised considerable controversy, besides eventually seizing the day for the JMM, has been Mr. Soren’s policy of giving election tickets to at least six naxal leaders in areas like Torpa, Khunti, Daltonganj and Simaria.

The result has either been victory for the JMM as in the case of Paulus Surin, who defeated the BJP candidate by a huge margin of 15,799 votes in Torpa, or a case of eating into the BJP’s vote share, as evident by the narrow defeat of Naxalite leader Masi Charan Munda, who lost out to BJP’s Nilkanth Singh Munda by just 436 votes.

JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said “the JMM is the only party in the region to really have a grasp on the deeper aspects of the naxal problem.”

Fending off arguments that the arrangement with the naxalites was based on political expediency, Mr. Bhattacharya said that the “JMM had given an opportunity to the naxal leaders this time by asking them to leave the gun and the jungle and address their problems in the Assembly.”

“There are so many areas in rural Jharkhand where police stations remain shut for the better part of the year. So the Centre ought to think about these micro aspects before embarking on something like Greenhunt,” said Mr. Bhattacharya.

Mr. Sinha said that “the BJP State president, Mr. Raghubar Das, during his poll campaign had also welcomed the move as an attempt to bring the naxals to the mainstream through the political process”.

While platitudinous political rhetoric like “weeding out corruption” has been voiced by leaders of both parties, it remains to be seen how this mutually conflicting arrangement plays out to ensure stability in Jharkhand.