Ranchi, April 22: Licking its wound after BJP’s nominee knock last week, the JMM today unequivocally declared that its party candidate would file nomination for the Rajya Sabha biennial elections tomorrow, hinting that its alliance partner had slighted coalition dharma.
The Congress too has renominated Pradeep Balmuchu, despite the JVM’s consensus cry, and the latter will formally enter the fray on the last day for filing nominations.
JMM chief Shibu Soren went into a huddle with party legislators this morning and asked them to escort Sanjeev Kumar when he files his nomination in the Assembly. Four of the 18 party MLAs — Hemlal Murmu, Deepak Birua, Aquil Akhtar and Vishnu Bhaiya — skipped the meeting, citing personal reasons.
Hemant Soren said that the BJP, which stunned the JMM by renominating S.S. Ahluwalia as its candidate last Friday, should follow coalition code of discipline and take a decision in the interest of the state. He, however, did not elaborate what was in the interest of the state, but added: “Our priority will be to get Sanjeev Kumar through.”
Sources said besides the Ahluwalia upset, the JMM was peeved with Arjun Munda for “unilaterally ordering a CBI probe into the 2010 Rajya Sabha polls and thus digging out an old case”. Alchemist Group chairman K.D. Singh, who won that election, had been fielded by the JMM.
The JMM is also busy cobbling numbers because it is convinced that the JVM, which has announced a boycott in the absence of a joint apolitical candidate with Congress, would pull off a last-minute volte-face.
“We are almost certain that the JVM will change its stand in the final moment, like the BJP did during the March 30 RS elections (which was later countermanded). So, we have to work hard to get the required 27 votes,” said a senior JMM leader.
The JMM’s understanding is not unwarranted. JVM sources too did not rule out a possibility of “rollback in the party’s decision” at the last moment. “There is nothing final in Jharkhand politics. It is like a T20 cricket match, where the result cannot be predicted till the last ball is bowled,” the source quipped.
A senior BJP leader said that Ahluwalia’s nomination might bring the Congress and the JVM together and it wouldn’t be surprising if the former bowed down to its ally’s claim over the Hatia seat.
With the JMM putting its foot down, chief minister Munda too went into a huddle with his senior leaders, including Dineshanand Goswami and Ahluwalia, to reposition the party’s political strategy.
The Ajsu so far has not committed support to either the BJP or the JMM. Party chief Sudesh Mahto said he would want the bigger partners in the ruling coalition to stick to a consensus candidate. “We will wait till they reach a consensus,” Mahto said.
In a related development today, the Election Commission served a showcause on the JVM and the Congress, seeking reply on charges levelled by JVM legislature party leader Pradeep Yadav against Congress’s Jharkhand affairs in-charge Shakeel Ahmed. Yadav had said that Ahmed offered JVM leaders chairmanship of three boards/corporations in lieu of support to the Congress’s Rajya Sabha nominee. Ahmed, however, trashed the allegation.
Returning officer K.K. Prasad said the showcause had been issued with a deadline of 24 hours.
“If the charges are true, then it is a violation of the model code of conduct,” he said.
The JVM has already replied to the showcause, but leaders refused to divulge details.