Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das on Tuesday left for New Delhi amid speculations that his meeting with the party high command will seal the fate of the state's long-pending domicile policy.
Sources in the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the turn of events in the past one week, including the BJP's core committee meeting and Das calling on Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren, suggest a domicile policy would be announced by April 30.
"He (Das) has gone to Delhi for political meetings with the high command. The domicile policy will also be discussed there," said BJP spokesperson, Sanjay Seth.
Local's policy had been the fodder for politics since the formation of first government with Babulal Marandi as the chief minister in 2000, said political experts. The state has had 10 chief ministers but none of the parties in Jharkhand have been able to successfully frame and implement a domicile policy.
“The BJP should seize the opportunity as a domicile policy can be listed as one of the greatest achievements for them in Jharkhand," said political researcher Pankaj Kumar Prasun.
The need for a domicile policy for the tribal state was the most important point of discussion at the core committee meeting on April 18, sources said.
They said since the BJP had for the first time formed a majority government in the state, core committee members were of the opinion that an announcement of a domicile policy now would face less hurdles.
The BJP came to power with the support of AJSU-party in Jharkhand last year by bagging 37 of 81 assembly seats. The party, at present, has 43 members in the assembly as six Jharkhand Vikas Morcha MLAs joined the party earlier this year.
Jharkhand, which has a tribal population of 26%, has reservations for members of tribal communities in jobs. However, the criteria deciding a person’s entitlement for facilities meant for domiciles would be designed to protect the interest of non-tribals as well, predicted political researchers.
Even tribal rights activists think the same. Dayamani Barla, a tribal rights activist from the days of unified Bihar, said, "A domicile policy should be for the local people, not necessarily tribal."