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Cong divided in Santhal belt

Dumka, Jan. 11: Congress leaders in Santhal Pargana prefer President’s Rule to forging an alliance with the JMM, contrary to earnest efforts of the party brass and some Independents to install a new coalition government in Jharkhand.

Congress state unit president Pradeep Balmuchu has notably been favouring an alliance with the JMM and avoid President’s Rule.

However, party leader Alamgir Alam argued that an alliance with JMM would adversely the electoral prospects of Congress not only in Santhal Pargana but also across the state.

“Although President’s Rule is not healthy in a democracy, the Congress should not join hands with the JMM which has lost its secular credentials,” he told The Telegraph.

The former Assembly Speaker added the JMM had lost its support base among the minority community after partnering the BJP-led Arjun Munda government.

Any attempt to support the JMM in forming a government would only prove detrimental to the interests of Congress, he said. Before taking a call, the Congress high command would also consider the fact that successive regimes had failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people, he added.

Former Godda MP and senior Congress leader Furkan Ansari said, “We are not in a hurry to form an alternative government at this point of time. However, the central leadership of the party will consider all aspects before taking a decision to support the JMM.”

Stephen Marandi, who was associated with the JMM for over three decades, questioned the credibility of the party.

“Congress is trying to strengthen the party organisation in Santhal Pargana. Any coalition with the JMM would weaken the enthusiasm of the party cadre,” he said.

Citing party-wise strengths, he argued that the support of several “corrupt” Independent MLAs would be needed to form a government at this juncture, which in turn would send a wrong message to the electorate.