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Kalpana Soren’s Leadership Test: Addressing Three Immediate Challenges

Newly elected legislator Kalpana Soren confronts pressing issues in party strategy, leadership changes, and countering emerging political threats. Her efforts to address these challenges will shape the future of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha ahead of the assembly polls

Ranchi: After becoming a legislator, Kalpana Soren spent four days in her constituency, Gandey. The wife of former chief minister Hemant Soren (who has been jailed) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha’s working president, she met with her constituents and visited several religious centres during her stay. Kalpana also held meetings with Giridih administrative officials as well as party cadres.

People recognize that the daughter-in-law of Shibu Soren wields unofficial power, both in the party and the government. With this power comes responsibilities and challenges. Addressing these challenges promptly is crucial for the benefit of both the party and the government.

Challenge Number One- Introspection Meeting

An immediate introspection meeting of the party leaders should be convened to gather feedback on the party’s performance, particularly in the North Chotanagpur area.

The INDIA bloc managed to win only reserved Lok Sabha seats and lost nine seats, including Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Giridih, Dhanbad, Koderma, Hazaribagh, and Godda.

However, no meeting of party leaders has been held so far. After the Lok Sabha results, Chief Minister Champai Soren and a few party leaders met Hemant Soren to discuss the situation.

Mathura Mahto, the party’s Tundi MLA and an INDIA candidate from Giridih, who lost to AJSU’s Chandra Prakash Choudhury by 80,000 votes, also wrote to the party requesting a meeting, but the party has yet to convene for introspection.

Two- Change of guards in JMM organization across the state

In the Gandey assembly seat, from where Kalpana Soren won the bypoll, Koderma Lok Sabha’s INDIA candidate Vinod Singh received fewer votes than Kalpana Soren. The fact that the Lok Sabha candidate got fewer votes despite INDIA having two candidates—one for assembly polls and one for Lok Sabha—indicates a lack of support from the JMM team for the INDIA candidate.

Although the Gandey MLA has no official position in the party, she must work on party matters across the state.

During her visit, Kalpana Soren also went to the JMM party office in Giridih. The district unit needs a change of leadership, as the district president has held the position for over a decade now.

The JMM-led gathbandhan government, which has passed a cabinet resolution for a caste census, should start giving an equal share to its major voter groups within the party. As JMM’s main voters are minorities and tribals, they should hold important positions in the party units. The implementation or non-implementation of this will impact the party’s performance in the upcoming Vidhan Sabha polls.

Challenge Number Three- Countering Jairam Mahto

The results in Giridih showed that the challenges posed by Jairam Mahto and his party, the Jharkhand Bhasha Khatiyan Sangharsh Samiti (JKBSS), can no longer be ignored, especially by the ruling JMM.

Jairam Mahto and his party’s candidates are expected to have a significant impact on the Jharkhand assembly polls, potentially influencing at least five assembly seats. The JMM currently has no real plan to counter this youth leader.

Significantly, JairamMahto’s Lok Sabha performance has proved that he and his newly formed party are more effective in the Giridih Lok Sabha area than in any other part of the state.

However, during her campaign, Kalpana Soren mobilized a team of young cadres. If she continues youth mobilization in every assembly segment, it could benefit the party.

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