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Congress must deal with angry ally

Ranchi, Sept. 8: Cracks are surfacing in the Congress-JVM alliance once again.

While the JVM today openly criticised its ally for being responsible for facilitating the formation of an alternative government in the state led by the BJP, the Congress was forced to remain tactical in its replies.

A day after the BJP’s Arjun Munda staked claim to form a government in the state with JMM, Ajsu and JD(U) support, JVM principal general secretary Pradeep Yadav chose to iterate that his party only had seat sharing arrangements with the Congress in the last Assembly elections and that it was now preparing to contest all seats in the state.

This prompted Congress’s Jharkhand affairs in-charge K. Keshav Rao to insist that he would be trying his best to ensure that the Congress-JVM alliance remained intact. But, he refused to be drawn into a lengthy debate on various other allegations of the JVM on the nature of their alliance.

JVM chief Babulal Marandi had yesterday castigated the Congress, saying the credit for the formation of the BJP-JMM government should go to it.

Congress-JVM ties had started to sour soon after the announcement of the last Assembly elections. The JVM had raised various issues with its ally, but “big brother” Congress was lukewarm to most.

For instance, the JVM has maintained all along that it had not been consulted during the election of the Congress’s Rajendra Prasad Singh as leader of the Opposition.

Its request to work out seat adjustments for the next Assembly polls, while extending support to Congress nominees during the last Assembly elections was also ignored.

Finally, after the fall of the Shibu Soren government, the JVM expected the Congress to initiate a move to form an alternative government led by Marandi. But, the Congress did not play ball.

Thereafter, the JVM demanded that the Assembly, kept in suspended animation since June 1 when President’s rule was imposed, be dissolved to prevent the BJP from coming to power.

“In a desperate bid to grab the secular vote bank, the Congress has now enabled the BJP to form an alternative government, presuming that this, in turn, will ruin Marandi’s flourishing vote bank,” alleged Yadav, adding that the party was only interested in grabbing power for which it tried to indirectly rule the state through President’s rule.

According to Congress sources, Rao was always aware of the “inherent political dangers” of not dissolving the state Assembly. But state party president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, in a desperate bid to save his own chair, never tried to impress upon the party high command that the BJP should be kept at bay.

Rao was defensive to these accusations. “I cannot comment on such allegations. All I can say is that we never tried to crush JVM or force our rule in Jharkhand,” he said, adding, “The Congress has great respect for democratic values. In future also I will try my best to see the Congress-JVM alliance remains intact.”

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