The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soren smells elections in state

Ranchi, Sept. 30: JMM chief Shibu Soren today asked his party cadre to get ready for mid-term elections in the Centre and the state.

Addressing the party’s central committee mem- bers during a meeting at Town Hall here, he said: “Elections are round the corner. We have to go to the masses without delay.”

Without naming anyone, Soren said the government that came to power last year has failed to fulfil the needs of the people. “There is no government in the state. People are unhappy with the manner in which it is functioning. There is hardly any planning. We must go to the people immediately and garner their confidence,” Soren said.

The JMM chief did not say if his party — the largest consistent of the UPA in the state with 17 MLAs — would withdraw support from the state government.

This was his first meeting with the central committee members after being acquitted in the Sashinath Jha murder case last month. Until now, the JMM chief had declared that he was not interested in pulling down the Madhu Koda government.

The party cadre has taken today’s speech as an indication of things to come. “By asking us to prepare for elections, he has sent a clear message of the things in offing. The boat (the UPA government) will sink, but in some time,” said a senior JMM functionary.

Soren also criticised the party functionaries for not taking steps to strengthen the party. “Ours is a party known for its struggling and fighting abilities. But our leaders hardly maintain relationships with people. It is high time that the party leaders establish contact with the people, undertake padyatras and strengthen all our committees,” he told his party men.

Apart from Soren, the state government also drew flak from several JMM district unit presidents. Referring to the tardy development work in the districts, a party functionary said: “Though we are in the government, none of our suggestions are heard at block offices and at local police stations. So is there any justification in continuing to be a part of this government'”

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