Dumka, Aug. 18: As the political camps at Santhal Pargana gear up to battle out in the forthcoming Assembly elections, thrust is being laid on organisational networking at the grassroots level.
Parties such as the Congress and the JMM have mounted efforts to strengthen its organisational base in the districts here. Both the parties are trying to woo back their estranged members.
The state unit of Congress recently brought Stephen Marandi, who has been contesting the Dumka Assembly seat for the past 30 years, to its fold. The former JMM leader, who quit the party in 2005, has a strong support base here. Political observers, however, said that Marandi was keen on getting a proper political platform and hence, joined the Congress.
Moreover, the Congress — which organised a party workers’ meeting in Dumka yesterday — has managed to bring back former lieutenants such as Chunna Singh and Thomas Hansdak.
The party’s Jharkhand in-charge, K. Keshav Rao, said that the return of these veteran politicians and joining of leaders like Marandi and Radha Krishan Kishor would make the party stronger. “We need experienced party leaders as well as dedicated party activists for strengthening our support base in the state,” he said. Rao indicated former chief minister Madhu Koda could also join them.
A similar kind of positive energy is being radiated from the JMM camp after the induction of Suraj Mandal in the party. Mandal, who was once considered the right hand of Shibu Soren and had played a pivotal role in the growth of the party, left JMM eight and a half years ago due to an ego clash with his chief.
Sources said that Soren had tried to bring back Stephen too, but failed.
“Mandal is a veteran politician who still has a command on the rural masses. His presence will certainly help us reorganise the party’s base in the rural pockets of Santhal Pargana,” said Ashok Murmu, a local JMM leader.