The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Birthday breather for Samata

Ranchi, Nov. 10: With the Samata Party national executive announcing the dates for next year’s organisational elections, party president and excise minister Ramesh Singh Munda has got a new lease of life.

Samata rebels, who have been demanding a change in leadership in Jharkhand, today said they have temporarily abandoned their plans. They, however, vowed to take up the issue of the state leadership’s lack of discipline with senior leader Nitish Kumar when he arrives at Ranchi on November 15 for the party’s birthday celebrations.

Sources said the dissidents will regroup after November 15 and chalk plans to revive the party which, they alleged, has no presence in the state.

As per directives of the Samata’s national executive, the membership drive in the state will continue till December 15. December 31 has been fixed as the last date for publication of the list of all primary members, while the list of active members must be published by February 15.

Elections for all panchayat units have to be concluded before February 22 while the deadline for the formation of block units is March 1, 2003. District unit polls have to be concluded by March 11 next year and state units must be formed by March 18.

Party sources said since the conclusion of the national executive at Rajkot and the national council meeting, things have gone from bad to worse in the state. At Rajkot, the national leadership had asked Jharkhand Samata ministers to close ranks, but, the sources said, the state council meeting scheduled for November 7 was hastily abandoned by the state party chief without giving any reasons or fixing a fresh date for the meeting.

The sources said the state executive meeting held on October 7 was a mere eye wash as no decisions were taken.

Although central leaders had left the matter regarding the Godda Lok Sabha bypolls to the state unit, two ministers held closed-door talks with the chief minister to virtually give up their demand to contest from Godda, the sources said.

To add to the chaos, state party chief Ramesh Singh Munda made a unilateral announcement to stay away from the anniversary celebrations. He also declared that he would hold a parallel function in Uliyatu, the birthplace of tribal leader Birsa Munda.

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