Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on Sunday began an earnest attempt to capture hearts and minds in the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha stronghold of Santhal Pargana region of the state by holding the first meeting of his expanded cabinet in Dumka.
Sunday’s meeting was only the third time that the state’s sub-capital has hosted the cabinet; ironically none of them have come during the tenures of JMM chief ministers: BJP’s Arjun Munda chaired the previous meetings, in 2005 and 2011.
The BJP already has a foot in the door in the Santhal Pargana – sitting MLA and then-CM Hemant Soren lost from the Dumka constituency in the last assembly elections. Dumks district is one of the six that comprise the SP Division.
Lois Marandi, who defeated Soren, is a minister in the Das cabinet. Three of the BJP’s seven legislators from the SP Division are ministers in the 11-member cabinet.
Apart from announcing the maintenance of multiple roads, the cabinet also announced that it would meet in Dumka once every three months.
It was also decided that the government would create a new cadre-d position of Director General, Police. Though the title has not been decided yet, sources in the government said D.K. Pandey, a Jharkhand-cadre officer who is with the CRPF now, will be elevated to the position.