‘Lost due to Jaichands’: Raghubar Das dissects BJP’s big Jharkhand loss
Hinting at infighting in the BJP’s Jharkhand unit, outgoing chief minister Raghubar Das on Wednesday said the party lost the assembly election due to a few traitors and a malicious campaign run against him.
“Jaichands are present everywhere. And the party lost due to few Jaichands. At times conspiracy succeeds. But success through conspiracy does not last for long. I have struggled to rise through the ranks and reach here. Struggle gives you power,” Das said while speaking to reporters at the BJP state headquarters in Ranchi.
The Bharatiya Janata Party leader was referring to Jaichand, the 12th-century ruler who once ruled in a pocket of the Gangetic plains and conspired with Muslim invaders that led to the defeat of Rajput king Prithviraj Chauhan.
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Infighting in the state unit, allegedly due to the discontentment over ticket distribution and ‘high-handedness’ of a section in the party backed by Das is being counted as one of the reasons for the BJP’s defeat in the assembly polls.
The BJP lost power in the eastern state in the recently concluded assembly election as its tally came down to 25, 17 seats short of a simple majority. The opposition alliance led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) won 47 seats in the 81-member assembly.
Das lost from the Jamshedpur East assembly seat for the first time in more than two decades to his former cabinet colleague Saryu Rai, who fought as an Independent candidate.
The former Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) functionary, had been winning the seat since 1995 when he was given party ticket in place of sitting BJP MLA Dinanath Pandey.
“They could not find any flaw in me so they ran a malicious campaign saying that I was arrogant and short-tempered. They say I am a Chhattisgarhi. It is true that my roots are there but I was born here,” he said after paying homage to former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on his birth anniversary.
“My family is targeted. What has my family got to do with it? Elections should be contested on issues and not by making personal attacks,” he said.
Das, who was the first non-tribal chief minister of Jharkhand, was given the responsibility of spearheading the elections as the BJP used the slogan of ‘Ghar, Ghar Raghubar’ or Raghubar in Every House.
In the face of a lukewarm response to its strategy, the party sought votes in the name of both Das and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and tried to make Article 370 and Supreme Court verdict on Ram Temple as poll issues.
Das also played an important role in ticket selection, a reason Saryu Rai was kept on tenterhooks till the last day of nomination. The BJP candidates—reportedly handpicked by Das himself—in the 14 assembly seats in his home district of East Singhbhum and neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan and West Singhbhum lost all the seats.
The BJP leader, who was the first Jharkhand chief minister to complete a full five-year term leading a majority government, said irrespective of the electoral result he would continue to work as the party’s worker.
“Power comes and goes. That is the beauty of democracy. This is what Atal ji has taught us. We would continue to work for the nation, party and the state,” he added.