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Upset MLAs fish in BJP waters

Ranchi, March 6: Barely a day after the Lok Sabha poll schedule was announced, the knives are out in the JMM with partymen citing a clash of aspirations centred around a seat in Santhal Pargana.

A day after chief minister Hemant Soren inducted Vijay Hansda, son of late Congress MP Thomas Hansda, into the party fold, at least two senior JMM leaders’ hopes of bagging tickets for their kin have surfaced.

They are all eyeing the reserved (ST) Lok Sabha seat of Rajmahal. Although the JMM has not yet spelt out any plans to field Vijay, a former Youth Congress leader of the region, his entry seems to have ruffled feathers already.

While the Congress has suspended Vijay and is said to have taken up the issue of “poaching” with its ally, the JMM has its own problems to resolve in the form of senior leader Hemlal Murmu’s threatened rebellion.

“This is no way to run a coalition. One should avoid opportunistic politics, which ultimately gets exposed,” state Congress chief Sukhdev Bhagat told The Telegraph, adding the matter had been referred to higher-ups in Delhi.

Murmu, the JMM’s MLA from Barhet, met senior BJP leader Arjun Munda today, and apparently expressed his unhappiness at the way things were being handled in the JMM. He is said to have told him that even his party patriarch, Sibhu Soren, had said yes to his wish of contesting the Rajmahal Lok Sabha seat that he represented in Parliament between 2004 and 2009.

But the MLA chose not to speak out. “At present, I am with the JMM and there are no talks to join BJP. It was a courtesy meeting with Arjun Munda,” Murmu told The Telegraph.

Another claimant to the seat is Dinesh William Marandi, son of JMM’s Littipara MLA Simon Marandi who represented Rajmahal in 1991.

“So far, no final decision has been taken about the Rajmahal seat. JMM’s crucial meeting is due tomorrow. I have also presented my case before the party forum. All fathers have wishes for their son. I, too, have the same,” he said about Dinesh, a Delhi University graduate.

Marandi signed off by insisting that ultimately Soren Senior and Hemant would take a call and whatever that might be, he would abide by it.

Today, the Congress announced its decision to suspended Vijay for six years, a decision that seemed inevitable after yesterday’s late night phone conversation, Bhagat had with Hemant to express his annoyance over the JMM’s “opportunistic poaching” of its leader on the eve of the Lok Sabha polls.

Although, the Congress-JMM seat deal is yet to be finalised, it is expected that Rajmahal would go to the JMM. The sitting MP is the BJP’s Devidhan Besra.


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