The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Marandi dares rivals to name CM

Giridih/Dhanbad, Nov. 25: Babulal Marandi wants the next Assembly election in the state to be contested as a sort of Presidential referendum.

On his return today from New Delhi after taking oath as a member of the Lok Sabha, he declared himself to be an aspirant for the chief minister’s post and demanded that other coalitions — the NDA and the UPA — should also declare their chief ministerial candidate before the elections.

Asserting that he is a better choice as chief minister, Marandi spoke of his wide experience — both in the state and at the Centre — and pointedly remarked that Arjun Munda and Madhu Koda had been behaving like MLAs, rather than chief ministers.

“That is why they have been more keen to promote their own constituencies than the entire state,” he claimed. The duo, he said, have no clue to constituencies other than their own.

Unfolding his electoral strategy, he dared political opponents to project their nominees for the chief minister’s chair and allow people to make their choice. He left nobody in any doubt that among such nominees, he will tower over others.

Hailing the support extended to him by veteran Marxist leader from the coalfield, A.K. Roy of the Marxist Coordination Committee, an elated Marandi said earlier at Dhanbad that it heralded a phase of “positive politics” in the state.

Conditions in the state, he reiterated, are pathetic “from the police station to the districts” and promised to change the face of villages in the state “within three years” but only if his party secures an absolute majority.

Experience of the state with coalition politics, he pointed out, has been disastrous and it is time for the people to provide an overwhelming mandate for more meaningful and effective governance.

His party, Marandi said, will not get into any alliance. He hinted that the party would provide a youthful look and put up fresh and more credible faces in the elections. His aides confided that preparations have already begun for the next election. Negotiation, for example, is going on for hiring a helicopter for the campaign.

Deliberations have also begun, they claimed, on finalising candidates for each constituency. JVM, they said, would set a benchmark for advance planning and political management. A meeting is slated at Ranchi on Monday to deliberate on the preparations, they added.

A beaming Marandi acknowledged the growing support for him among the youth and said: “If a survey is conducted among all political outfits in the state, it would certainly reveal that an overwhelming majority of youths between 25 and 35 years of age support the JVM.”

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