Jharkhand Mukti Morcha went back to basics to achieve victory in the recently concluded Jharkhand assembly elections. These basics would be Smart alliances, a focus on local issues and the ability to leverage the tribal card without offending other constituencies.
Analysts, party workers and leaders of the JMM’s allies in this election, the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal credit Hemant Soren, 44, for taking the grouping to 47 seats in the 81-member assembly, a clear majority.
Soren, the choice of all allies for the top post, and the son of the party president and former Union minister Shibu Soren, was chief minister for a brief period in 2013, but this time, he is in a stronger position than last time.
“For me, today’s the day that I have to promise to fulfil all the wishes of the people of Jharkhand. Their verdict is the result of the hard work that Shibu Soren put in and the time to make his dreams come true has come,’’ Soren said.
Soren’s Sangarsh yatra more than a year before started JMM’s campaign season across five phases in the Jharkhand assembly elections. This was the perfect platform for the newly crowned leader of the party to reach a large number of masses and discuss their issues. If we look at an instance, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi got ready to inaugurate the Mandal Dam in January, Soren focussed on how it would displace indigenous people. This helped him become a champion of local issues, especially rights of the tribal people.
“Soren was able to convince the people that the Central government was not for tribal rights.” admitted a BJP leader on condition of anonymity.
One of the major JMM campaign was to not get swayed by the BJP’s campaign and to keep the narrative local. “We changed our strategy so that Soren’s speeches would be solution centric. He would talk about problems but only with a solution,’’ said a key party member.
During the assembly elections the JMM could have easily pursued the 14% muslims in the state during this time of highly raged Citizenship Amendment Bill protests but instead JMM kept their focus on basic issues such as the Forest Rights Act and the linkage of Aadhar with the Public Distribution System (PDS).
We made sure that we established a major social media campaign so that people could see and hear him throughout the election cycle,” said the JMM leader.