The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Third front call hits Marandi hurdle

Ranchi, June 7: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leadership has summoned a crucial meeting of the central executive committee to decide on whether to sever its ties with the UPA and join the just-formed “third front”.

Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and architect of this new front N. Chandrababu Naidu has requested JMM chief Shibu Soren to join the front through a letter that reached the JMM headquarters yesterday.

Addressing a news conference, JMM organising secretary Supriyo Bhattacharjee said: “The central committee would meet at Dumka on June 10 to discuss Naidu’s request letter. The party would seek the views of the central committee members before taking the final decision. Nothing can be ruled out at this juncture.”

The only deterrent that could restrict JMM from joining the new front could be the fact that the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) has decided to join the front. Marandi is a well known bete noire of Soren and the former had already attended the maiden meeting of the front at Hyderabad yesterday.

If JMM decides to join the front, it would signal the end of honeymoon between JMM and the UPA coalition. Privately, the JMM leaders accuse the Union government of not doing anything to bail out Soren from the murder case of his private secretary Sashinath Jha. A Delhi court had earlier convicted Soren in the case.

JMM has also asked the Union government to ensure that it resolves the imbroglio involving the Delimitation Commission’s report. “We demand that the Centre immediately convene a special session of the Parliament and find a way out so that the recommendations of the commission are not implemented in the state,” said Bhattacharjee.

A JMM delegation is also meeting Governor Syed Sibtey Razi tomorrow to request his intervention. The party has also demanded for a fresh census in the state, as the last one, done about six years ago, was faulty. Earlier, the census report had claimed that the tribal population of the state had decreased and based on that report, the commission had advocated for reduction of seats for the Schedule Tribes.

“But that census was not carried out in a proper manner. There are several villages, especially in reserved forest areas, where no census was undertaken. Our vehement agitation against the commission would continue without any compromise,” warned the senior JMM functionary.

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