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CM plays down party rift on Sabita

Jamshedpur, Feb. 3: Chief minister Hemant Soren today said there was no pressure on his government and the three disgruntled MLAs, who had threatened to quit after the Sabita Mahto fiasco, would hold their respective turfs.

In the city to attend late JMM leader Sudhir Mahto’s shraddh bhoj, Hemant said he would not like to comment on media reports that said party MLAs Mathura Prasad Mahto, Jagannath Mahto and Vidyut Baran Mahto would submit their resignations to the Speaker by Wednesday, February 5.

“We (JMM) don’t do politics over dead body. Decision to withdraw Sabita Mahto’s name was a party decision and there are compulsions in a coalition government. JMM is like a family and sometimes we have to face ups and downs. We won’t beg for support as the party is capable of honouring a member of a martyr’s family,” he said.

Baharagora legislator Vidyut Baran, who apparently seemed to have fallen in line, said JMM supremo Shibu Soren had “sought time” and they had accepted it.

“Guruji has sought time to take a final decision on Sabita Mahto. Jab samay maanga hain to achcha hi karenge (He will take the right decision if he has asked for time,” Vidyut Baran said, adding that the party had taken a “wrong step” in “insulting” a widow.

He said that the JMM should have stuck to its decision to field Sabita as a nominee for the Rajya Sabha biennial. “We would have won 40 seats in fresh elections had the government fallen,” he argued.

The Sorens reached Jamshedpur in a chopper around 3pm and headed straight for the Uliyan grounds to attend the function in memory of the former deputy chief minister. Both met and consoled Sabita and her daughters.

Heavy security bandobast was made at the venue to prevent any untoward incident. Police prevented a band of youths from waving black flags at the chief minister and his father near Sonari airport.

Thouands, including political big wigs, attended the bhoj. Former chief minister Arjun Munda, Ranchi parliamentarian Subodh Kant Sahay, JMM legislators Mathura Prasad Mahto and Jagannath Mahto, their Congress counterpart Banna Gupta, former minister Dulal Bhuiyan and senior RJD leader Girinath Singh were among them. JMM supporters from Bengal and Odisha also flocked the venue.

Several people from Mahto’s erstwhile constituency Ichagarh also made their presence felt. People made a beeline till late in the evening.

Pranab Mukherjee sent his condolences to the family. In his letter addressed to Sabita Mahto, the President said the late JMM leader had contributed immensely in the development of Jharkhand.


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