By getting the Bills, seeking to provide domicile to a resident based on his/her ancestral land records of 1932, passed by the state Assembly on Friday, the Hemant Soren government has struck a master stoke against the ruling party in India today.
This is clearly against the BJP government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. And such seems to be the power of CM Soren’s move that the BJP appears to be caught in a classic case of Catch-22.
The saffron party can not favour or oppose these Bills in view of the sensitivity of Adivasis who constitute 26.3 percent of the total 3.19 crore population of Jharkhand.The rest are non- Adivasis.
However, CM Soren has been trying to build his support base, especially among Adivasi- Muslim(AM) communities, a strong combination in the electoral field in the state. And he seems to have succeeded in gaining their support as well. The Assembly-approved Bills were learnt to be backed by a wide majority of them.
So, if these Bills become law, the domicile can be gained in Jharkhand only by a resident of the state whose ancestors had figured in land records of 1932. If this was not the case, the Gram Sabha will approve or disapprove his/her domicile status.
In effect, in case, this domicile law comes into force in Jharkhand, the class three and four jobs can be gained only by residents who had gained residential certificates based on 1932 land records.
However, the Assembly-approved Bills can not become law unless and until these Assembly approved Bills are cleared by the Governor, President of India, and the Parliament through the amendment introduced in the form of another Bill seeking to amend the Ninth Schedule of the Indian Constitution by the Modi government.
Aware of this, the government of coalition comprising RJD, Congress, and JMM led by CM Soren, who is facing charges of gaining illegally a stone mine lease license and money laundering for which the ED had summoned him for questioning for the second time on November 17, had got these Bills approved by the state Assembly only to raise the issue in the electoral field against the BJP.
Since this was a long pending demand of both Adivasis and Christian Adivasis in the state and had been mentioned in the manifesto of the JMM in the 2020 Assembly polls, CM Soren was in cheers and a vast majority of the core Adivasi community has greeted and welcomed his move.
Against this backdrop, in case, Governor, President, and the BJP government do not get Bills cleared by amending the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution or preferred to keep them pending, licking dust in record rooms, Hemant Soren led JMM and its allies Congress and RJD will jointly howl at the BJP and make it a major electoral issue in the forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2024.
The response of the BJP which had not dared to oppose these Bills is not known. However, its leader and ex-CM Babulal Marandi who was aware of its electoral dynamics, has said: “ Now he( Soren) knows that he( Soren)is going to jail.”
Prior to Marandi’s comment, CM Soren had blasted the BJP and said on the floor of the Assembly on Friday, “From inside jail also, I will fight and finish the BJP in Jharkhand.”