The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Congress, JMM exchange Sangh slur

Ranchi, Nov. 26: A war of nerves has broken out between the Congress and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha with either side describing the other as being close to the Sangh parivar in the run-up to the Godda Lok Sabha bypoll slated for December 12.

The first salvo was fired by Congress Legislature Party leader Furkan Ansari, who is also the party’s nominee for the bypoll, when he charged the JMM with having a “tacit understanding” with the BJP.

Ansari alleged that the JMM had fielded a candidate from the minority community, Hussain Ansari, as part of a conspiracy hatched with the BJP.

The JMM hit back at Ansari by attributing his statement to the “frustration” of the party because “a definite defeat” is awaiting the Congress in Godda. “Furkan Ansari should remember that it is the Congress which has encouraged the communal forces — be it the Bhagalpur riots or the Babri demolition. It is his party which supported Shankarsinh Vaghela, who is a thorough believer in Hindutva,” JMM leader Supriyo Bhattacharya said.

“The Congress had contested the Dumka Lok Sabha bypoll in the hope that JMM votes would get divided to indirectly help the BJP. But this did not happen. Our leader Sibu Soren won the seat with a thumping majority. The same will happen in Godda, which is hardly 80 km from Dumka. Our activists can easily cover that distance,” JMM functionary Vinod Pandey said.

The BJP has fielded rural development minister Pradeep Yadav, while the Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Godda MLA Sanjay Yadav is also in the fray.

The JMM accused Congress leaders from Jharkhand of keeping Sonia Gandhi in the dark about the local equations. “Furkan Ansari is neither a local man not has he done anything for the constituency. He probably does not have the ability to garner support in his own constituency, Jamtara, and so he is asking for votes from other areas,” JMM leaders said.

“Just like Dumka, the JMM is fully alert in Godda. We will make efforts to win the seat. We are ready to take on the BJP-Congress alliance there. The people of Godda will teach them a lesson,” they added.

Ansari had shared the dais with chief minister Babulal Marandi yesterday during the Jharkhand Games opening ceremony.

He had said that JMM fielding a minority candidate would act as a “speedbreaker” in the election. “Godda’s case is different from Dumka and JMM should understand this. The Congress is very strong in Godda,” he said.

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