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Chakka jam for Sabita tears

Ranchi, Jan. 30: The anger against JMM for backing an “outsider” in Rajya Sabha over the widow of popular leader Sudhir Mahto reached a new pitch today, with the powerful Kurmi Vikas Morcha giving a call for a daylong statewide chakka jam on February 5.

The move of the politically active outfit of Mahto-Kurmi caste comes before the last day to withdraw nominations for two Rajya Sabha seats.

For all practical purposes, the uncontested duo of Prem Chand Gupta and Parimal Nathwani will get victory certificates from Election Commission tomorrow. The RJD-Congress-JMM combine supports Gupta, while BJP and Ajsu are backing Nathwani.

Gupta, a Lalu Prasad favourite, who earned JMM backing due to the latter’s coalition compulsions, angered late Sudhir Mahto loyalists who wanted his widow Sabita to get the seat.

Mahtos or Kurmis come under Backward Caste and are a major slice of the JMM vote-bank.

The chakka jam announcement by Kurmi Vikas Morcha president Sheetal Ohdar has however put the three Mahto MLAs of JMM, who had shot off resignations to protest against Sabita’s “humiliation”, in a spot.

The three — Mathura Prasad Mahto, Jagannath Mahto and Vidyut Baran Mahto — are still banking on rhetoric rather than making specific demands.

“We have nurtured the JMM with our sweat and blood. Why should we desert it now? Chief minister Hemant Soren should have consulted party colleagues before humiliating Sabita Mahto. It is immaterial how she will be compensated, but the humiliations caused to the Mahto community are unpardonable,” said Mathura Prasad.

In layman’s language it means that the trio may not want to resign after all, but at the same time want to give sound bytes to keep their caste members — and voters — happy.

The trio will meet JMM chief Shibu Soren on February 1 or 2.

A JMM party member, who refused to be named, said Sabita would be adequately compensated with either the chair of a corporation or a board or be given the vacant Rajya Sabha seat left by K.D. Singh, the bypoll of which will be held later this year.

It seems JMM will manage to appease their MLAs, if not the Kurmi morcha.


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