The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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United front to fight delimit panel

Ranchi, June 5: Chief minister Madhu Koda and an all-party delegation will visit Delhi to convince the Centre not to decrease Lok Sabha seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the state.

Apart from meeting the Prime Minister and other Union ministers to stop delimitation of House seats, Koda also agreed to hold a Tribal Advisory Council meeting and seek the governor’s intervention to resolve the issue.

Decisions to this effect were taken at an emergency meeting held today at the chief minister’s residence. Leader of Opposition Arjun Munda, BJP state unit chief P.N. Singh and senior leaders from other political parties participated in the meeting. However, no one from the JD(U) and the Ajsu turned up for the meeting.

All those present at the meeting agreed that they will leave no stone unturned to save the Lok Sabha seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes. The chief minister offered to lead their campaigns.

Koda advised the party leaders to ensure that peace was maintained when the delimitation commission visits the capital on its three-day public hearing tour.

“We will be registering our protests at various forums through democratic means. The delimitation commission will be holding public hearings on June 8 and 9. All are free to air their views before the commission representatives, but no one will be allowed to take law into their hands,” said Koda.

The chief minister also said he would soon hold the tribal advisory council meeting to discuss ways and means for saving the seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes. After this, Koda said, he would get cabinet approval for the resolutions and then approach the governor for help.

Advocating an increase in the number of Assembly seats in the state, Koda said the seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes should be “put on freeze” as it has already been done in Sixth Schedule areas.

Criticising the lack of seriousness on the government’s part, leader of Opposition Munda said an all-party delegation had met the Prime Minister, Union home minister, law minister, delimitation commission and election commission a couple of months ago. However, the reports on follow-up actions were not discussed today, he said.

Koda replied: “The NDA government only kept sleeping (over the issue). It is I who apprised the Prime Minister about the sensitivity of the matter and I am confident of positive outcomes.”

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