The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cracks after purge, Murmu finds an ally

Jamshedpur, July 7: Fresh from a purge, the Jharkhand Front suffered a jolt today with one of its partners performing a somersault and threatening to walk out unless expelled leader Salkhan Murmu is reinstated.

Jharkhand Party (Noren) general secretary Shailendra Maity threw his weight behind Jharkhand Disom Party founder Murmu 12 hours after a statement that carried his name as well that of three other partners announced the Disom Party and its leader have been expelled for his alleged autocratic style of functioning.

The other components of the front are the JPP, the Jharkhand Vikas Dal and the Jharkhand Party (Horo).

Making a sudden appearance at a press conference called by Murmu, Maity said he would quit the front if Murmu is not called back. “If Salkhan Murmu is not included in the front, I will leave it,” Maity said.

He denied having been a party, along with Surya Singh Besra, .E. Horo and other leaders, to the decision yesterday to throw Murmu out of the front.

“I was not aware of the developments. I was going into the main venue of the front meeting at Adivasi Youth Club in Karandih. Suddenly, I was taken inside another hall nearby where I was given to understand that Murmu would arrive at 1.30 pm,” Maity said. He denied signing the release announcing the front’s decision.

Maity’s statement today came after a late-night interaction between him and Murmu, who was one of the conveners of the front.

Predicting an exodus from the front, Murmu claimed that some leaders of the Jharkhand Vikas Dal have also expressed their solidarity with him.

The front had also charged Murmu with violating its code of conduct. A showdown was brewing since June 29 when Murmu had announced a series of agitation programmes on his own.

“I have all along been working for the cause of the Adivasis and the Moolnivasis and I will continue it whether I am a part of the front or not. We will continue our agitation. The whole idea of forming the front was to fight united for our cause. But by expelling me, these leaders have put a blot on the cause,” Murmu said.

Murmu accused Surya Singh Besra of being the conspirator. “Besra had tried projecting Horo as the convener but his idea was not accepted by the party members. Whatever they have done is unwarranted, unconstitutional and illegal. I have never flouted the party’s code of conduct. On the other hand, it is they who have done so,” he added.

Murmu said that he was still open to the idea of returning to the front, provided a concrete proposal was made to clear the air on leadership. “After all, at some point or the other, this issue will crop up. So the matter should be resolved,” he said.

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