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JVM to skip RS vote

Ranchi, Jan. 20: The JVM has decided to stay away from the Rajya Sabha biennial on February 7 for the party doesn’t have enough numbers to see through its own candidate.

Party chief Babulal Marandi, who held a meeting with party MLAs, MPs and office-bearers, decided to play mute spectator during voting rather than seek or extend support to Congress or BJP candidates.

JVM has 11 members in the Assembly, but one of them, MLA Nizamuddin Ansari, was suspended for not participating in the Hemant Soren government’s vote of confidence in July last year.

JVM principal general secretary Pradip Yadav said the remaining 10 MLAs would not exercise their franchise during the vote.

“We cannot force our suspended MLA to not cast his vote. We have left it to him. But the rest of us will not vote,” he confirmed.

To explain the party’s stand, he said the JVM wanted to send a local candidate to the Upper House, but it couldn’t do so on its own.

“As we are opposed to both Congress and BJP, we can neither seek their support nor can we help them. Other parties will be of little help in this regard,” he argued.

CPI-ML (Liberation), which has only one representative in the Assembly of 81 members, has never participated in the polling for Rajya Sabha.

Therefore, with the JVM members opting out, a candidate will need at least 24 first preference votes to win a seat. The second-preference votes may become crucial too.

Whether the Ajsu will support a BJP or JMM-backed candidate is therefore being looked upon with great curiosity.

While both BJP and JMM have 18 MLAs each, the Ajsu has six MLAs.

Despite their long association with the BJP, Ajsu MLAs had voted for the JMM candidate during the last Rajya Sabha biennial.

Understandably, Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto is keeping his cards close to his chest.

“We are yet to decide our role during the Rajya Sabha polls,” he said.

The JMM core committee will meet tomorrow to discuss its strategy.

Outgoing Independent RS member Parimal Nathwani is apparently planning to contest again and has been lobbying with JMM, JVM and Ajsu heavyweights for their support.

BJP state president Ravindra Rai said his party would hold a meeting soon. “We want transparent polls. Sending a BJP candidate to the Upper House by hook or by crook is not our objective,” he added.