Ranchi, March 15: A former Tata Steel executive today joined the JMM, triggering speculations that he might be given the ticket to the much-talked about Jamshedpur seat.
The rumours stemmed from the fact that former vice-president (human resources) of Tata Steel Niroop Mahanty’s (64) plunge into the main stream politics came at a time when the JMM was desperately looking for a “strong” bet against IPS-turned-MP Ajoy Kumar of the JVM.
Chief minister Hemant Soren inducted Mahanty, a permanent resident of the steel city, into the JMM as a member during a closed-door function at his father Shibu Soren’s Morabadi residence this afternoon.
Mahanty’s wife Rupa, a direct descendant of renowned freedom fighter Surendra Nath Banerjee and also a corporate executive, was also present on the occasion.
His association, the former corporate honcho said, with the JMM goes back to the time when he was given the task of installing Tata Timken Limited in the steel city around 25 years ago.
“Work environment back then wasn’t conducive. It was this party that helped me a lot in completing the assignment successfully. Since then I became its fan and remained in constant touch with party leaders,” he said.
Recently, party’s Seraikela MLA Champai Soren took the initiative to turn that “decades old liking into a more fruitful association”.
“Four days ago, I received a call from Champai Soren, who asked me whether I was interested to join the JMM. I responded positively and today I joined the party,” Mahanty said.
Welcoming the former corporate executive into the fold, Hemant said, “The party wants to use his vast experience as a corporate boss to strengthen the organisation and take the state towards prosperity. Mahanty will be given various responsibilities in the party.”
Asked if the party would field him from the Jamshedpur seat, Hemant neither denied nor confirmed.
“Today, he joined the party as a party worker. Whether he will be a Rajya Sabha member or sent to Lok Sabha or given some other assignment will be made official within a day or two. Any assignment will be given to him after consultation with the party chief.”
However, party insiders dropped enough hints to suggest that Mahanty was one of the strong contenders for the ticket to the Jamshedpur seat.
“The party has been looking for a clean face to field against (Ajoy) Kumar, who as a first-timer registered an impressive victory in the 2011 bypoll,” said a senior JMM leader.