Newly appointed Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state president Laxman Giluwa is heading straight into a battlefield — he has to counter infighting within the party and attacks by the Opposition on the ruling government’s policies and development agendas.
Giluwa, appointed after Santhal leader Tala Marandi’s short but controversial administration, takes charge of his post on Sunday. In a telephonic interview with Hindustan Times, Giluwa spoke about the burning issues in the state, the government’s domicile policy, the opposition, land acquisition problems, amendments to the state’s Tenancy Acts and more.
The opposition has been dissatisfied with the BJP government’s policies and has accused the government of being anti-tribal. Your reaction as a tribal leader?
The opposition parties are only trying to disrupt peace and create disturbances in the state. The BJP has always worked for the welfare of the tribes in Jharkhand, from the days of the Jharkhand movement and even before that. I am confident that the party cannot do any harm to tribals. They (the BJP) have appointed a tribal face as the party chief in Jharkhand — what more evidence do you need that the party only wants to give equal rights to members of the tribal community?
The opposition parties and some tribal groups are unhappy with the BJP government’s domicile policy. They have also been up in arms against the tenancy ordinances. Can this cause a loss to the tribal vote bank?
The domicile policy is well-balanced, and will help the indigenous people of Jharkhand get their due rights. The policy which former chief minister Hemant Soren’s government was planning wasn’t much different from ours. They were planning to set 2002 as the cut-off year for domicile, and we have made it 1985. The government wants to include the opposition in such discussions. We will happily participate in a dialogue, but they just want to protest. Opposition leaders are instigating innocent tribals to launch protests against the government for political gains. The tribals should not be treated as vote bank, nor should they be misguided.
After what happened at Gola and Barkagaon, don’t you think a slow undercurrent of anger and disgruntlement against the BJP is growing among villagers?
The villagers who lose their land for development works should get their due compensation. The companies should ensure rehabilitation and resettlement of the land losers. I have been discussing this matter with the CM. We have to ensure that a Gola-like incident doesn’t happen again. Though I don’t see any hatred, I see issues that need to be addressed for the betterment of land losers.
The Maoists have rendered their support to the Opposition against the government’s tenancy ordinances. Your reaction?
I think it is too early to speak on it. Let us see how things turn out.
Your predecessor was accused of forming the BJP office bearers’ committee in haste. When will you constitute the committee?
I need to talk to senior leaders and old-timers before taking any decision. The seniors should be given their due respect in the party and included in all decision-making exercises. I will personally interact with the key leaders of the party and take a call on the committee. Hopefully, the committee will be constituted within a month or two.
Is the party suffering from internal rifts? If yes, how do you see yourself facing the challenges ahead?
I personally don’t see any rifts. However, I want to take each and every member of the party along while taking major decisions. Their opinions matter the most. I will try my level best in maintaining unity among the party leadership and workers.