Ranchi, Jan. 7: After “turning away” chief minister Arjun Munda and his trusted lieutenant human resources development minister Baidyanath Ram, the JMM central executive body discussed its future course of action for nearly four-and-a-half-hours today, though the official agenda was honouring Jharkhand statehood movement activists.
“Jharkhand ke amar shahidon ko sat sat naman — Samman, Adhikar, Pehchan, Rojgar, Pragati, Shanti, Bandhutva (Homage to the martyrs of Jharkhand — we will fight for honour, rights, identity, employment, growth, peace and friendship)” read the banner in the background as JMM chief Shibu Soren flanked by health minister Hemlal Murmu and transport minister Champai Soren sat quietly after the meeting, even as his deputy chief minister son Hemant repeatedly asked newsmen to leave after taking photographs.
Earlier in the day, somewhat unnerved by Congress state president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu’s meeting with Sonia Gandhi this morning following which Balmuchu announced that his party was in a position to form an alternative government in Jharkhand without JVM support, BJP state president Dineshanand Goswami rushed to the chief minister’s Kanke Road residence.
Thereafter, Munda drove to Soren’s Morabadi home.
What transpired between them during the half-hour closed door meeting is not known.
However, Munda walked out quickly amid tight security without talking to newspersons.
Ram too came out after another half hour or so. But, he too sped away. Ram happens to be a member of the cabinet sub-committee on local resident policy and the issue involving release of grants-in-aid to madarsas directly concerns him.
“We don’t want to give JMM an opportunity to say that we didn’t talk to them on time. This is another reason why BJP national general secretary Dharmendra Pradhan has come for talks. Shibu Soren is aware that he will be ruined if he joins hands with the Congress at this juncture. But, he is helpless in his own home,” said a senior official at the CMO.
A top ranking JMM leader too admitted that as the Congress was more interested in forging an alliance for the next Lok Sabha elections, the JMM ought to move cautiously. It should be clarified at the very beginning how many Lok Sabha seats will be given to the JMM to try its luck.
“We have adequate time in hand since the party’s central committee meeting has not yet been held. There should also be some plain talks on pending CBI inquiries against the Sorens,” he added.
Soon after the meeting, Palamau MP Kameshwar Baitha said his party could withdraw support to the Munda government after January 10.
Later, Hemant clarified that is party decided to withdraw support as it was being ignored everywhere and the BJP leaders were using abusive language against the JMM supremo.
However, Shibu Soren will decide when to formally hand the withdrawal letter to the governor.