Jamshedpur, Aug. 9: The West Bengal unit of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) stunned the party leadership by questioning the high-ups about why the issue of 'Vrihad (greater) Jharkhand' was being consistently ignored.
The three senior JMM leaders from Purulia ' Ajit Mahto, Balaram Mahto and Murlidhar Mahto ' criticised the central committee of the party for not chalking out any agitational programmes in neighbouring West Bengal on the greater Jharkhand movement issue.
These leaders had come to participate in a programme on the occasion of the death anniversary of the slain JMM president, Nirmal Mahto.
'The JMM central committee has to justify why it is avoiding the greater Jharkhand issue and why has there been no plans for any agitation either in West Bengal or Orissa on this issue,'asked these leaders while they were invited to address the gathering yesterday night at the Nirmal Mahto ground in Uliyan.
'Is it that the central committee is no longer interested in the issue, which was once the vision of the late president for whom we have all gathered in the city' they asked.
As the party leadership, including chief Shibu Soren and the leader of the Opposition in the state assembly, Sudhir Mahto, heard the brief speeches of these Purulia-based party leaders with stoic silence, the JMM supporters from Bengal started cheering them, apparently backing their outbursts.
Later Ajit Mahto, the central vice-president of the party, told The Telegraph that ever since Jharkhand was created in 2000 by bifurcating Bihar, the West Bengal unit has been requesting the central committee to concentrate on their agitation in West Bengal and Orissa for creation of greater Jharkhand.
'Jharkhand, at present, is a truncated state. It was not what the party had dreamt of when the struggle for a separate state had begun. It is rather baffling that the party is showing no interest towards the creation of a greater Jharkhand comprising three districts of West Bengal and four from Orissa, apart from the present 22,' Mahto thundered.
According to the JMM leaders from Bengal, there has been attempts made by them to raise this issue in the central committee meetings of the party. 'Strangely our proposals were sidelined every time we took up this matter for deliberations. We do not know whether it was done intentionally or not,' they added.