Ranchi, May 25: Two vociferous tribal leaders — Mandar legislator Bandhu Tirkey and Bishunpur MLA Chamra Linda — today threw their weight behind JVM candidate for the Hatia by-election Ajay Nath Shahdeo.
Addressing a press conference, the two legislators said they found Congress, BJP, Ajsu and JMM insensitive towards tribal issues and hence were forced to support JVM chief Babulal Marandi, who had promised to take care of problems facing tribals in the state in the days to come.
“None of the four parties — Congress, BJP, Ajsu and JMM — raise tribal issues either in the Assembly or outside. We have often noticed JVM taking a stand on these crucial issues. We spoke to Marandiji and he told us that his party was sympathetic to tribal issues. Hence, we will support his candidate for the Hatia bypoll,” said Tirkey.
Both Tirkey and Linda are known for their strong stand on tribal issues in the Assembly as well as outside. In fact, it was riding on issues like land alienation, migration, Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, poverty et al, that they reached the Assembly.
While Tirkey is close to the Congress and even supported the party’s Rajya Sabha MP Pradeep Balmuchu in the biennial elections recently, Linda too is learnt to have done the same, though he sits in the treasury benches.
However, Tirkey, the Jharkhand Janadhikar Morcha legislator, has chosen not to support Congress candidate Sunil Sahay, brother of Union tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay in the Hatia bypoll just as Linda, the Rashtriya Kalyan Paksha legislator has distanced himself from the ruling alliance of BJP, JMM and Ajsu.
“I came to politics for tribal issues. I supported the Arjun Munda government after I got assurance from him that the government will take care of issues affecting the tribals in Jharkhand. But, the government has not. We find that only Babulal Marandi can address the issues and hence the support,” explained Linda.
Interestingly, Tirkey’s ancestral village of Banhora is in Hatia Assembly constituency. His clout is strong among tribal voters of villages surrounding Banhora, situated on the outskirts of the state capital. On the other hand, Linda who has to his credit years of struggle on tribal issues before getting elected as an MLA too has his support base in the villages of Hatia area.
However, when asked whether they will consider further political alliance with Marandi, the legislators said their support was restricted only to the Hatia bypoll.