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On the cusp of Assembly elections, what Hemant Soren’s bail means for JMM

The bail for former Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Friday gives the JMM-led coalition government in his state a much-needed shot in the arm in the run-up to the Assembly polls due later this year.

Right before his arrest in January 2023,Soren resigned from his post and made way for Champai Soren to take over as CM. In the wake of the arrest, Soren’s wife Kalpana Soren became the face of the JMM. With her oratory skills, she was able to invoke the Jharkhand identity and create a strong base amongst women. Kalpana also participated in various national-level campaigns of the INDIA bloc and won the bypoll in Gandey, held along with the Lok Sabha elections, by 26,000 votes.

In the recent Lok Sabha polls, the JMM-led coalition got six seats. The JMM got three seats on its own, with the Congress getting two. The BJP won seven seats, while its ally, the All Jharkhand Students’ Union, got one. However, they lost all the five ST-reserved seats to the JMM coalition.

The BJP also lost tribal-dominated Dumka, where it had fielded Soren’s sister-in-law Sita Soren, by 22,000 votes, indicating the hold the JMM and its allies continue to have in the tribal pockets of the state — expected to have strengthened in the wake of the arrest of Soren.

“Nothing worked in the BJP’s favour in the tribal seats of Jharkhand in the Lok Sabha polls. The manner in which the BJP will strategise for the 28 tribal seats in the Assembly will be crucial,” said a BJP leader.

Soren’s release is a new entry to the equation, with the JMM expected to try and reap the sympathy factor.

A JMM leader admitted that Soren continuing in jail until the Assembly elections, so that the party could speak of the “injustice meted out to him”, was what they were counting

Read more on indianexpress.com