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Congress loses one to Ajsu

Ranchi, March 12: Former Congress MLA Niel Tirkey of Simdega quit the party today to join Ajsu after he was denied a ticket for the Khunti parliamentary seat.

“Ajsu has promised me a ticket from Khunti. There is no respect for committed leaders and workers like me in the Congress. I had made my intentions known, but the Congress ignored my claim and gave the ticket to a man who has no support base,” Tirkey said just.

Referring to Kalicharan Munda, who has been fielded by the Congress, he said, “He was preferred just because he (Munda) happens to be the son of party stalwart T Muchiroy Munda. How can I allow somebody to reap the harvest of my toil in this constituency?”

Tirkey, who was the party’s Simdega district chief, alleged certain leaders had conspired against him as he was seen as a supporter of Pradeep Balmuchu, Rajya Sabha MP and former state Congress chief.

Tirkey was closeted with state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat till late last night to persuade the central leadership to consider him for Khunti. He even told the media after the meeting that he had given up plans of quitting the Congress. But later, he went and met Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto.

The Asju welcomed his inclusion. “Niel is a prominent tribal Christian leader. His joining will enhance the base of the party among the Christian community,” said senior leader Prabhakar Tirkey.

The Congress was cold to Neil’s defection. “Jahan bhi rahen sukhi rahen aur tarakki karein (May he be happy and rise in stature wherever he is),” Bhagat said, adding that even though they recommended his name, it was rejected by the high command.