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JMM minister takes potshots at ruling ally

Jamshedpur, June 28: With the Jamshedpur bypolls serving as a perfect backdrop, the JMM showed its true colours to its ally today with minister Haji Hussain Ansari threatening to pull down the government if the BJP does not toe its line.

Ansari, the co-operative and minority welfare minister in the BJP-led government who is in the city to campaign for the party candidate, said: “BJP ki lagam JMM ke hatho mein hain (reins of BJP is in the hands of JMM).”

Ansari’s outburst is the first time a JMM minister has openly and so seriously taken on the BJP, discounting the frequent barbs coming from party leaders Sudhir Mahto and Dulal Bhuiyan who have been primarily targeting junior ally, the Ajsu.

The minister said the saffron brigade had to fulfil the aspirations of the people, including minorities, otherwise his party would not hesitate to withdraw support to the government.

Ansari, however, said the by-election would not hamper the coalition government’s survival in Jharkhand. “Sarkar ekdum theek-thaak chalegi. Koi dikkatey nahin aayegi (The government will run well. No problem will crop up).”

Ansari criticised BJP, Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha for the plight of Muslims. “Babulal Marandi is talking about welfare of Muslims. But what has he done during his tenure as the first chief minister of Jharkhand? Unlike the erstwhile Bihar government, he did not work in favour of the minorities. Marandi is an RSS man who cannot do anything worthwhile for the Muslims,” the minister later said at a press meet.

Ansari, who has been entrusted with the job of shoring up Muslim votes in the constituency, met several leaders of his community to discuss campaign strategy both in urban as well as rural segments.

The senior JMM leader has already toured all six Assembly segments of the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency. He also addressed a gathering at Muckdumpur today.

Ansari’s high-pitched threat notwithstanding, the JMM sought to downplay it by calling it a political statement.

The JMM has pulled out all its resources to garner Muslim votes. With Ansari working overtime, others, including party candidate Sudhir Mahto, ministers Hemlal Murmu and Mathura Prasad Mahto, have also joined the effort.

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