BJP, JMM yatras assess public mood ahead of polls in Jharkhand

Ranchi (IANS) The ruling BJP in Jharkhand as well as the main opposition party JMM are taking out 'yatras' or road shows in a bid to gauge the public mood and garner support ahead of the Assembly polls in the eastern state.

While the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has started the 'Jan Ashirwad Yatra', the opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is reaching out to the electorate with its 'Badlao Yatra'.

The BJP yatra which was flagged off by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on September 18 from the state's Jamtara district is being led by Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das.

Das, in the first phase of the yatra, has covered all the six Santhal Pargana districts -- Deoghar, Dumka, Sahebganj, Pakur, Godda and Jamtara.

The BJP is likely to invest more time and efforts in the Santhal Pargana region as it is considered the bastion of the JMM. In the rallies he held there, Das took the opportunity to target JMM president and former chief minister Shibu Soren and his family -- son Hemant Soren, also an ex-CM, and the party's executive president.

The allegation -- "Soren family looted the state and fooled the people of Santhal Pargana. They violated the land acts to get the land registered in their name" -- was a part of each rally held by Das.

The Chief Minister has now moved to the second phase of the yatra in Kolhan region where his East Singhbhum assembly constituency falls. In the second phase, he will cover over 450 km by road.

Addressing a rally at West Singhbhum on Thursday, he said: "For 14 years, the Congress, JMM and RJD looted the state and they are planning to form a coalition now to loot the state again.

"The current government is set to complete its five-year tenure but not a single allegation of corruption has been levelled against it," he said.

Talking about the JMM yatra, party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told IANS: "Hemant Soren has covered almost the entire state. The Badlao Yatra will conclude on October 18 with a rally at Ranchi. The aim of the yatra is to expose the BJP government."

Hitting out at the Chief Minister, Hemant said: "CM Das follows what Delhi asks him to do. He does not work for the people's interest... just follows the central party leaders' directives."

Apart from slamming the state government over its style of functioning, Hemant Soren during his rallies, also unveiled plans for the state he intends to implement if his party is voted to power.

He also promised to hike the reservation for the OBCs from the present 14 to 27 per cent.

"BJP which has ruled for 16-17 years in the state, has only taken away the rights of the locals and captured the land by making changes in the land acts CNT/SPT, by formulating land acquisition act, forest rights act and domicile policy. Had JMM not been in Jharkhand, the CNT/SPT Acts could not have been saved," he said at a rally in Khunti district on Thursday.

In the 2014 assembly polls, the BJP got 37 seats while the JMM bagged 19 in the 81-member assembly.

The assembly elections are likely to take place in November-December this year.

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