Shibu Soren in Dhanbad on Friday. (Gautam Dey)
Ranchi, Nov. 20: Fighting the political forces single-handedly, a “tired” JMM chief Shibu Soren recently confessed that campaigns and conspiracies made him miss his son, late Durga Soren.
The senior Soren also confessed that the task would have been simpler had “Durga been alive electioneering”. “All this that the JMM has achieved till date is not just me. I had a son who accompanied me everywhere. He knew every member and could feel the pulse of the people. But, god took him away,” Soren lamented at several election meetings.
Soren has fielded Durga’s widow, Sita Devi, in Jama and younger son Hemant Soren in Dumka. Consequently, he has been accused by his own people for nepotism. Truth remains that Sita Soren’s entry did compel the BJP to deny a party ticket to sitting MLA Sunil Soren. This in turn kindled resentment among BJP members as well.
Manoj Paharia is the new BJP candidate in Jama.
It is being said that Jama constituency happens to be late Durga Soren’s stronghold, though he was defeated by the BJP candidate there last time.
Durga flouted coalition contract and jumped into the poll fray from Jama in the past Lok Sabha polls. His rebellion, it is believed, facilitated BJP’s victory in Godda and Hazaribagh.
But, the poll outcome also compelled senior Soren to realise that the Congress was incapable of fighting it alone in Jharkhand.
“Durga was a thinker and he took decisions in the larger interests of the party’s organisation. In the past Lok Sabha elections, he engineered Kameshwar Baitha’s entry to the party and used his veto power to grant him a ticket for Palamau Lok Sabha seat. Today, the party is banking on Palamau Assembly seats,” said a JMM central committee member.
Talking to The Telegraph Soren has once admitted that he worried about his party and how it might fall like a house of cards after his death. With it, he added, dreams of thousands of tribals, too, would crumble.
“We spent the initial two-and-a-half decades fighting against moneylenders, contractors and police. People had faith in us and elected us to the Lok Sabha and Vidhan Sabha, but we could do little as we were busy fighting for a separate state. When we achieved that dream, I did get elected as the chief minister twice and Union minister, twice.
“What ultimately came of that?” asked Soren.
He had rued that tribals were still not aware of their rights. And, that the JMM, too, never got the time to mature as an organisation.
“Durga was slowly learning the ropes and was being accepted among the party and the masses as generation next. After his death there is a void. After my defeat in Tamar, I had proposed Champai Soren and Nalin Soren as my successor. But, people wanted Durga.
“Yet, today I stand accused of nepotism,” he said.