The mineral rich state of Jharkhand had seen much political drama prior to 2014, such was the condition of the state that not even one Chief Minister prior to the incumbent CM has been able to complete his full term. Jhar (Forest) + Khand (land), the name in itself is enough to sum up the geography of the state. Naxalism is another big problem in the state and it has further lowered the pace of progress of the most mineral rich state in the country. Naxal violence, mass conversions done by missionaries, ever increasing communal clashes owing to the large number of vested interests amongst communities, prevalence of illiteracy and malnutrition in the state and all the other combined problems which come with almost 14 years of unsuccessful coalition governments constituted the bundle which Raghubar Das got along with the CM seat in December 2014. His selection as the CM candidate by Bharatiya Janata Party created uproars in the state. Raghubar Das was the first non-tribal candidate to sit on the chair of CM in Jharkhand. This was also the first time when a party got clear cut majority in the state. Was it pure luck or sheer hard work?
Raghubar Das’ journey has been astounding to say the least, he was born in the house of a middle class labourer and joined the Jayprakash Narayan’s Total Revolution in the state of Bihar. Raghubar Das also spent time in jail during the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi, he joined BJP in 1980 as one of the founding members after having been a part of the Janata Party since 1977. Prior to becoming the CM in the state he had served as the Deputy CM during Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-BJP coalition. Within a year of becoming the CM he acted fast to build its own set of rules in compliance with the provisions of the Land Acquisition bill which was yet to be cleared in the Parliament by the central government. ‘Jharkhand Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Rules-2015’ was made taking into consideration the large number of tribal dominated areas which come under 5th Schedule of the Constitution. The bill was going to drastically improve the pace of structural and developmental work in the state.
Under Raghubar Das Jharkhand became the first state to ban Popular Front of India (PFI) in the state. The BJP government lost no time to declare the ban on PFI following the PM Modi led all India DGP level meet in Tekanpur, MP. PFI has raised havoc in many states across the country and has been blamed for radicalization of masses followed by countless charges of murder and violence. It was a brave decision to ban PFI and stop it from growing its roots in the state, thus proving that the incumbent CM showed that he believed in calling a spade a spade and not in appeasement of the minorities. The state of Jharkhand state assembly also passed the anti-conversion bill brought by CM Raghubar led BJP government in the state which had provisions of imprisonment of three years and fine of Rs 50,000 or both, and four year- imprisonment and Rs 1 lakh fine, or both, if the person converted is a minor, woman or a member of Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe. It was a much needed bill which should have been implemented in the state since its inception considering the missionaries had already an extensive network in the state and had been luring the tribals and marginalized communities with promises of food and medical facilities.
One brave decision was quickly followed by the next in 2018 when Raghubar Das announced that the benefits reserved for Scheduled Tribes could not be availed by people who had converted. This was announced by the BJP CM quite recently which signifies that his fight against the conversion brigade is not over yet.
Raghubar Das has shown true leadership skills and the courage which is necessary for any leader. He has also shown true determination in fighting the conversion brigade operating in the state. He has emerged as a champion for the Hindu and tribal way of life, a more suitable candidate for the CM post in Jharkhand will be hard to find given the current situation.