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Guruji to contest from Dumka

Ranchi, March 5: JMM leaders from across the state started trooping into Ranchi to lobby for tickets for the Lok Sabha elections today, their worries mounting after the election commission announcing a three-day vote schedule in in Jharkhand.

While Vijay Hansda, son of late Congress leader Thomas Hansda, formally joined the JMM today in the presence of chief minister Hemant Soren, party leaders from various districts were pouring into the Morabadi residence of JMM supremo Shibu Soren.

“He is a young leader from the Santhal Pargana region and will strengthen the party there,” Hemant said, introducing Vijay Hansda.

Shibu Soren, Hemant added, would be contesting polls from Dumka, besides campaigning for the party in spite of health issues _ the JMM patriarch even visited Apollo Hospital in Chennai for urological complications.

There was no word whether Vijay Hansda would contest elections this time. But insiders maintained that Vijay may be fielded from the scheduled tribe (ST) reserved seat of Rajmahal, which was represented twice by his late father on a Congress ticket.

Hemant also maintained that as per the understanding with the Congress, JMM would fight four of 14 seats. The Congress will decide on candidates for the remaining 10 seats.

“We are yet to decide which four seats JMM will fight. Candidates for those seats would be finalised soon,” Hemant said.

Asked about family members deserting the party, like his uncle Lalu Soren, who joined Bengal chief minister-led Trinamul Congress, Hemant was dismissive.

“This is a democracy and everyone is free to take a call,” he said.

JMM has two sitting MPs _ Shibu Soren from Dumka and Kameshwar Baitha from Palamau.