Shibu’s rallies more about people than his rivals | Ranchi News


SUNDARPAHARI (Godda): For Shibu Soren, electioneering is not about laying out his party’s vision for the people or criticizing his rival BJP either. Instead, the septuagenarian JMM patriarch tells people to become literate and fight for their rights.
Dark clouds gathered over a small field at Sundarpahari, a block dominated by Santhalis, on Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of people, all of them poor tribals, carrying bows, arrows and tribal drums, stood scattered around a tiny stage wrapped in green — the colour of JMM that symbolizes jangal and jameen.
On the crammed stage, Shibu’s bodyguards stood in a corner. Below it, his supporters stood beating the drums. “Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Raghubar Das keep people at a distance at their rallies. But Guruji is different,” JMM general secretary Vinod Pandey said. There are more cops manning the perimeter around Shibu’s chopper than Shibu himself.
Shibu arrived in Sundarpahari to campaign for party’s Rajmahal candidate Vijay Kumar Hasdak. Sundarpahari comes under Barhet assembly segment, represented by his son Hemant Soren is the assembly.
“JMM workers did not ask us to come to the rally. We came on our own to listen to our Disom Guru. Though he came here after five years, we have a special bond with him,” said Devi Chand Tudu, a resident of the neighbouring Tetriya village.
Shibu’s popularity in Santhal Pargana can be traced to the days of his struggle against moneylenders and the movement for a separate state. Veteran JMM leader and former MLA Lobin Hembrom said: “Today’s leaders travel in SUVs and choppers, while Guruji walks on foot in every village. Sometimes we ate, most of the days we went hungry and toured each and every village.”
Shibu, who is irregular at the Parliament and has withdrawn from public life owing to his health, keeps his speech short these days. Most of what he says is unfathomable. On Tuesday, his five-minute speech was entirely in Santhali. “Jharkhand was born after a lot of struggle and sacrifice. For its protection, you have to become educated and stand up for you rights,” he told the audience. His speech did not find any mention of the mahagathbandhan, JMM or BJP.
After the programme, Hembrom reminisced about the years gone by. “Earlier, Guruji never held meetings during the day but only at night. In winters, people used to brave the bone-chilling cold to hear him at midnight. Recently, he addressed the people at JMM’s annual midnight rally in Dumka on February 2, which marks the party’s foundation day,” Hembrom said.
As the cloud thickened and winds started blowing, Shibu was escorted to the chopper. He waved at the crowd one final time before boarding. And as the metal bird lifted off, people watched him in amazement. The look on their faces showed Shibu, though old, still retained the aura around him, thanks to his deep connect with the people.

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