Jharkhand polls: Bid to copy Lalu Prasad was Raghubar Das’s undoing
-(PTI Photo)

Ranchi: The perceived dissatisfaction with the style of functioning of Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das and his bid to emulate Lalu Prasad in running the government apparently led to BJP's defeat.

Das, in all fairness, has some achievements; one of them is that he was the first non-tribal Chief Minister who survived a full tenure of five years.

But that apart, after taking charge, Das marginalised all state level leaders. He first targeted BJP's tribal face Arjun Munda. During the 2019 Assembly ticket distribution, at least 11 sitting MLAs were denied tickets. All these were either Munda loyalists or did not have good relations with Das.

Besides, Das was also responsible for hustling out alliance partner, the All Jharkhand Students Union president Sudesh Mahto. During five years of his tenure, Mahto played the role of shadow opposition leader 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 party said.

Sources in AJSU say that they wanted a 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 also 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' functioning also left many government officials demoralized. He would lose his temper with officials, party workers and media personnel at the drop of a hat. 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. 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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