ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Changing Equations of Jharkhand Adivasi Politics

An analysis of the Jharkhand assembly elections held in 2014 helps us understand the discourse of Adivasi politics in the state and throws light on the assertions about the receding space for Adivasi politics and the declining significance of regional parties. Examining the verdict in 28 assembly constituencies reserved for Scheduled Tribes, this article argues that rather than losing their ground, Jharkhand-based parties have succeeded in consolidating their position in tribal-dominated areas.

The triumph of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ally, the All Jharkhand Students Union Party (AJSUP), in the December 2014 elections in Jharkhand validates the point made by a few that the brand of “development” pursued by the Hindu right wing has taken the Adivasi constituencies in its stride. Nevertheless, the resilience of regional parties like the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) suggests that tribals remain important in state politics. There is much more to read for both the sceptics as well as the protagonists of tribal politics in the Jharkhand assembly elections held in December 2014.

Public intellectuals remain divided in their opinion with a few attributing this verdict to the rift between the tribals and non-tribals, while others consider Jharkhand’s political instability and under-development the reason for the clear mandate in favour of the BJP and its ally. However, there is something beyond the verdict itself which has significant symbolic connotations. For the first time in its 14-year history as a state, Jharkhand has a non-Adivasi chief minister.

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