Conflict in BJP over Jharkhand’s domicile policy

Ranchi, May 4 (IANS) The domicile policy in Jharkhand seems to have caused a rift in the ranks of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state.

According to the notified policy, which was announced by Chief Minister Raghubar Das in April, anyone living in the state for 30 years and possessing immovable assets will be considered a resident of Jharkhand. However, a section of BJP MPs feels that the 30-year criterion is too harsh while others think that more stringent conditions are needed.

Opinion seems to be sharply divided on the issue.

While some leaders said that those who have been living in Jharkhand since its creation should be accommodated, tribal Mahto leaders have demanded that land records must be made mandatory to ensure that outsiders do not get any job in the state. Under the policy, the third- and fourth-grade jobs have been reserved for the tribal and indigenous people for the next 10 years at the district level.

In a letter written to Jharkhand Governor Draupadi Murmu on April 29, four BJP MPs have demanded that the domicile policy must be changed to assuage the tribals of Jharkhand.

Signed by Ranchi Lok Sabha MP Ram Tahal Choudhary, Khuti MP Karia Munda, Jamshedpur MP Vidyut Baran Mahto and Chaibasa MP Laxman Gilua, the letter stated that the domicile policy has caused discontent among the Adivasis and Moolvasis of the state.

“The domicile policy has been announced after a long wait. There are several shortcomings in the policy. The policy is being opposed by several parties and some changes have been demanded. Discontent is rising among the Adivasis and Moolvasis of the state,” the letter stated.

The Opposition parties have already red-flagged the policy. Even the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU), which is a partner in the ruling alliance, has also opposed certain conditions of the policy. However, the chief minister on Tuesday ruled out any change in the domicile policy, which has irked several BJP legislators.

“The chief minister’s statement on Tuesday is unfortunate. The state was formed for the people living in Jharkhand for a long time and who were exploited by the outsiders. The last land record should be a criterion of the domicile policy,” a Mahto leader told IANS.

However, there are those who think that Jharkhand’s domicile policy must be in tune with that of states like Chhattisgarh and Uttarakhand where one has to be a resident for 10 years to seek domicile status.

Meanwhile, reacting to the discordant voices, Jharkhand BJP spokesman Pradeep Sinha said the domicile policy will be amended if required.

“Everyone has a right to raise his or her voice. Let the policy be first implemented and if there are shortcomings then the state government can think of amendments,” Sinha told IANS.

–IANS

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