Ranchi, March 3: In a surprise shake-up, JMM chief Shibu Soren’s brother Lalu Soren defected from family politics to join Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamul Congress today, which also inducted three other Jharkhand notables — MLAs Bandhu Tirkey and Chamra Linda, currently backing the Hemant Soren-led coalition, and RJD leader Aklu Ram Mahto.
Trinamul general secretary and former Union minister Mukul Roy came to Ranchi to welcome the four inductees. All of them spoke to the media at Circuit House, Morabadi.
The two MLAs, Lalu and Mahto formally joined the Trinamul fold at a an event at Harmu grounds from 11.30am to noon where Roy praised “didi” (Mamata) in broken Hindi and promised to replicate Bengal’s success in Jharkhand.
Trinamul, credited with felling 34 years of Left rule in Bengal, hasn’t started a membership drive in Jharkhand.
But this may change now, as Tirkey announced his party Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch’s merger with Trinamul, adding his talks with Mamata on tribal issues convinced him they were on the same page.
“Trinamul is conscious about tribal issues. Domicile policy, monitoring of funds under tribal sub-plan, implementation of Sarna code are important for the Trinamul. Ideologically, we feel this is the right party to join,” Tirkey, an MLA from Mandar with Lok Sabha (LS) aspirations, said.
Linda, an Independent MLA from Bishunpur, contested LS polls from Lohardaga in 2009, where he suffered a narrow defeat at the hands of BJP’s Sudarshan Bhagat.
Trinamul as well as Tirkey and Linda can benefit from each other. Regional party Trinamul needs to field strong tribal faces if it wants to expand its presence in Jharkhand. Tirkey and Linda need LS tickets from a party that can offer them room to grow.
Lalu and Mahto needed a fresh party. Lalu, under Shibu’s shadow, resented the nephew Hemant’s rise. For Mahto, the RJD had nothing new to offer in this Lok Sabha polls.
“Their joining us is a meeting of common ideology for tribal welfare and Jharkhand’s progress. In Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in Jharkhand we will change the scenario,” Roy told The Telegraph.
“Our party president Mamata Banerjee has brought development in Bengal. She is keen for the same in Jharkhand,” Roy added.
Asked if Tirkey and Linda will contest LS seats as Trinamul nominees, Roy said: “You’ll know soon.”
If Tirkey and Linda get Lok Sabha tickets of Ranchi and Lohardaga, it will not only disturb existing vote-banks, it may seriously impact the ruling coalition at the state.
Trinamul is also negotiating with disgruntled JMM MLA Paulus Surin of Torpa.
As of now, JMM seemed more worried about Tirkey and Linda than Lalu leaving baba (Shibu) to shake hands with didi (Mamata). “Unka (Lalu) koi wajood nahin hai. Kai baar ticket diya lekin jeet nahi paye. Bas hawabazi karte hain (Lalu has no weight. He got a ticket many times but couldn’t win. Full of hot air),” said JMM’s Haseen Ahmed.
The Congress, which inducted IAS Binod Kispotta and corporate honcho Jayant Jaipal Singh as members today, reacted over the Trinamul development caustically.
“I wonder why Trinamul, ideology or something else,” state Congress chief Sukhdeo Bhagat said, refusing to speak on its impact for the JMM-Congress-RJD combine.