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CM seeks strongman on rival turf

- JMM pitch for majority victory in next Assembly elections

Dumka, Dec. 1: Chief minister Hemant Soren today stressed the need for a clear mandate in the next Assembly elections and urged JMM workers to capitalise on the present government’s “good work” to strengthen party base.

“The state has been facing problems from the very beginning because of fractured mandates. It is time to ensure complete majority for a single party. And JMM is the only party that can empower people and put the state on the growth track,” Hemant said while addressing a party workers’ conference at Saraiyahat block in Dumka.

Interestingly, Saraiyahat comes under Poraiyahat Assembly seat and Godda Lok Sabha constituency, which JMM is supposed to hand over to the ally Congress under a seat-sharing pact.

Thus, Hemant’s move to address a party meet-cum-public rally here is largely being viewed as an attempt to dent the BJP support base ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Currently, BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, who is believed to have been instrumental in breaking the JMM-BJP alliance, represents the Godda constituency.

Also, Hemant is likely to call on Independent MLA from Jarmundi Harinarayan Rai at his native village Sonaraithadi in Dumka tomorrow.

Sources said Hemant would persuade Rai, who was earlier in JMM, to return to the party fold to strengthen its prospects in Godda.

Rai enjoys huge popularity among members of the Bhuiyan-Ghatwal community, which plays a decisive role in elections.

Rai won the Assembly elections as an Independent candidate in 2005 and 2009, after JMM denied him a ticket.

Then minister in the Madhu Koda government, Rai had been sent to jail on corruption charges.

Currently, he is out on bail and among the Independents who are backing the JMM-Congress government.

Sources said Hemant wanted Rai in the JMM to kill two birds with one stone.

He wanted to take on BJP’s Nishikant Dubey, who also enjoys considerable clout in the Bhuiyan-Ghatwal community, in Godda, and at the same time, secure Jarmundi seat.

In an attempt to assuage the indigenous communities of Jharkhand who have been seeking reservation in third and fourth grade government jobs, Hemant urged youths to focus on self-employment for sustenance.

“Agriculture is one of the major sources of income. The state government is ready to provide all necessary assistance to those who want to explore opportunities in this field and allied areas,” he said.