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Soren in court, party to wait

Ranchi, Nov. 19: News from Delhi that a CBI court would hold day-to-day hearing in the Shashinath Jha murder case today forced the JMM to postpone its mahadivesan (general assembly) and internal elections — slated to be held in Deoghar from November 26 to 31 — till January.

The premier investigating agency had named coal minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren prime accused in the abduction and murder of Jha, his private secretary, in 1994. The CBI trial court of special judge B.R. Kedia, Tees Hazari, has started hearing the final arguments in the Jha murder case.

JMM insiders said that as party chief Soren would have to be in Delhi because of the hearing, the party was left with little option but to put off the Deoghar convention and elections till January next year.

The sources pointed out that the convention was scheduled to take up a complete review of the JMM constitution and introduce necessary amendments to streamline the party apparatus.

The Deoghar convention, they added, would have reviewed the state’s political scenario in a bid to prepare the party for possible mid-term elections in the state.

JMM secretary Shailendra Bhattacharya told The Telegraph the party convention could be held from January 19-21 in Deoghar. “A final decision on the dates will be announced shortly,” he added.

The convention, held every three years to elect a new set of office-bearers, was last held in 2003 at Jamshedpur.

The CBI had alleged that on the intervening night of May 22-23, 1994, Jha was allegedly abducted and taken to Piska Nagari near Ranchi where he was murdered.

The CBI exhumed a skeleton from Piska Nagari and claimed that it was Jha’s.

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