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Marandi’s ‘Morcha’ strikes out Stephen

Hazaribagh, Sept. 24: Former chief minister Babulal Marandi today officially announced the name of his political party as Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik).

The list of office-bearers, declared today, raised eyebrows as Stephen Marandi’s name was not included. Babulal Marandi was made the president of the front.

Though Babulal maintained silence over the non-inclusion of Stephen, sources said he was not happy with Stephen’s role in the Koda government.

Sources added that Stephen had cleared his stand at a meeting of the front in Hazaribagh yesterday. Stephen hinted that he was ready to support the Koda government if he was offered the chair of the Speaker. The stand of Stephen was clearly against Babulal, who had earlier indicated as not to support UPA and the NDA.

However, Marandi had supported Stephen in yesterday’s meeting saying he was an Independent candidate. But today his name was excluded from the list of office bearers to pass the message that the front had nothing to do with his demand for the post of Speaker, a leader added.

Sources said Stephen was considered as the second powerful leader of the front after Babulal. He was also active in its formation, when Babulal dumped the BJP.

Sources close to Babulal said more than a dozen BJP legislators were in constant touch with him and will join the front within a few days.

In today’s list of office bearers, Saba Ahmed, Theodore Kiro, K.P. Sharma, Som Marandi, Surya Singh Besra got the post of vice-presidents. Local industrialist B.K. Jaiswal was given the charge of treasurer, while Prabhakar Tirkey, Ashok Verma and Banna Gupta were named as secretaries.

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