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Raghubar Das' style of working proved costly for BJP

​The perceived dissatisfaction with the style of functioning of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and his bid to copy Lalu Prasad in running the government apparently led to BJP's defeat in Jharkhand.  

IANS IANS
Ranchi Published on: December 23, 2019 16:48 IST
Raghubar Das' style of working proved costly for BJP

Raghubar Das' style of working proved costly for BJP

The perceived dissatisfaction with the style of functioning of Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das and his bid to copy Lalu Prasad in running the government apparently led to BJP's defeat in Jharkhand.

Das, though, has many records to his credit; one of them is that he was the first non-tribal Chief Minister who survived full tenure of five years. In a state which has witnessed eight Chief Ministers after its formation in 2000, Das's completition of the full five-year tenure (2014 to 2019) was credititable.

After taking the charge, Das sidelined all state level leaders. He first sidelined BJP's tribal face Arjun Munda. During 2019 Assembly ticket distribution, he denied tickets to all Munda loyalists. At least 11 sitting legislators were denied tickets. All these legislators were either Munda loyalists or had not had good relations with Das.

Beside sidelining leaders within his party, Raghubar Das is also responsible for sidelining the alliance partner, All Jharkhand Students Union's (AJSU) president Sudesh Mahto. During five years of Raghubar Das government, Sudesh Mahto played the role of opposition despite being a part of the government.

The BJP-AJSU tie-up could not materialize only because of the arrogance of Das, his detractors within and outside the BJP said.

Sources in AJSU say that party wanted common agenda for the polls. AJSU, besides seeking a larger role in the alliance, wanted a new chief ministerial face. The central BJP did not accept AJSU's conditions. AJSU was unhappy as it was not taken into confidence on important issues such as amending the land laws and bringing the domicile policy.

Das government's move to amend the two acts -- Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and the Santhal Pargana Act -- did not go down well among the tribal people of the state. When various organisations called for protests in Ranchi, Das allegedly allowed use of force to quell the agitation. The protesters were denied buses which were stopped outside Ranchi.

Government sources said Das's functioning also left many government officials demoralized. He used to lose his temper on officials and party workers and media personnel as well. Some of his Jansamvad (public interaction) programmes became known for his haughtiness.

His detractors said Das only tried to imitate RJD chief Lalu Prasad while dealing with officials. The people's grievances were not addressed while officials were humiliated, they said.

"His short temper coupled with his scathing remarks made against party workers caused major resentment within the party. He sidelined trusted party workers, allowing his advisors to call the shots. The issues related to party workers and leaders were never heard properly. We were not given time to meet Das," said a BJP leader.

Saryu Rai, who was a cabinet minister, did not enjoy good relations with him either. Roy left Parliamentary Affairs Ministry and made it known that he would not sit alongside Das even inside the House. When Rai's ticket was put on hold, he rebelled and fought against the Chief Minister.

More than 70,000 para teachers demanding regularisation of their service were treated badly. In 2018, on formation day of Jharkhand in November, they were beaten up by police. More than 25,000 Aganwadi workers demanding a raise in their wages were also not treated well.

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