*Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge receiving a glass pack carrying the logo of Baba Mandir from party workers in Dumka on February 11, 2023

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge today landed in  Dumka by a charted flight and then proceeded to arrive at neighbouring Gumani ground by a chopper in Pakur where he kick-started the 60- day long ‘Haath Se Haath Jodo’( Join Hands Together) campaign in Jharkhand.

This is Kharge’s first visit to the land dominated by a tribe Santhal. Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren and his father Shibu Soren, MP, apart from a number of his party MLAs, hail from this land - Santhal Pargana division of Jharkhand.

At both Dumka and Pakur’s Gumani ground, Kharge was greeted and welcomed by scores of Congress workers and their followers. Many of them were photographed showering flowers and handing over a logo of Baba Mandir. This was in Dumka.

The Haath Se Haath Jodo is aimed at consolidating the Congress party’s organisational set- up, right from booth to village, block, district and state level for the General elections in 2024.

Pakur and Dumka are located in the Santhal Pargana region of the state. The Congress has focused on Santhal Pargana for the following regions. 

One, Congress had fielded its candidates in four out of 18  Assembly seats in Santhal Pargana and had won all four -Pakur, Mahagama, and Jarmundi. Later, one more seat was added in its fold from this Santhal-dominated region when Pradeep Yadav who had won the Poreyahat seat as a candidate of the now-defunct JVM, had joined the party.

Two, the ally JMM- Congress are understood to have been following and promoting Adivasi- Muslim combination strategy to retain and strengthen its electoral base across the state including Santhal Pargana where it had organised a midnight rally in Dumka to observe its foundation day on February 2.

Three, the rival BJP has been actively involved in breaking the Adivasi- Muslim strategy of the JMM-Congress by raising a widespread campaign against ‘Love Jihad’ and infiltration of Bangladeshis, a feature responsible for changing the socio-cultural framework of tribals in several parts of Santhal Pargana.

Four, BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on February 4 addressed a public meeting at nearby Deoghar in Santhal Pargana.

The Haath Se Haath Jodo campaign launched by Congress president Kharge at Gumani ground in Pakur today was attended by hundreds of people most of whom were Muslims.They were spotted joining hands together and appeared to be in cheers.

Another notable point is this. While the Congress party had launched Haat Se Haath Jodo campaign in the country on January 26, its president Kharge preferred not to visit Ramgarh where his party is struggling to retain the Assembly seat.

In any case, Congress has fielded Bajrang Mahto, a consensus candidate of the ruling JMM- Congress- RJD combine in the by-election on February 27, which became necessary after the disqualification of the Congress sitting MLA and Mahto’s wife, following her conviction in a criminal case.

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