The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Cong in comfort zone

Jamshedpur, June 8: The Congress today made it clear that it will not make any difference if the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) decides to sever its ties with the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and joins the proposed “third front”.

Reacting on JMM’s “intentions” to join the new front, state Congress president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchchu said his party would be “comfortable” with JMM.

“There is no bonding. If they (JMM) want to stay with us, it’s fine, if not, it will hardly make any difference,” clarified Balmuchu. He, however, said, as per indications, UPA was heading towards a split.

Balmuchu said the party workers had been demanding that they sever its ties with the JMM and contest elections on its own. “We have been conveying their feelings to our senior leaders in Delhi,” he said. It has been a general perception that JMM votes could be transferred to Congress but not the vice-versa, he added.

The Congress chief said no effort would be made to stop the JMM from deserting the UPA. “JMM is a political party. It has every right to choose its own course of action. It cannot function according to our wishes. If they want to join the new front, we have no objection,” he said.

However, Balmuchu, said it will be the JMM, and not the Congress, which might suffer because of their decision to desert UPA. “We have nothing to lose. We are not in the government. But JMM is a part of the Koda government with three ministers. So, they will be out of power with the fall of the Koda government,” said the Congress president.

On the JMM’s charges that the national parties have not been able to fulfil the regional aspirations, the Congress MLA from Ghatshila said: “It’s the Congress which has taken up regional issues, conveyed them to our central leaders and solved them. It was Congress, which raised the issue of delimitation. Similarly, we have been fighting for panchayat and civic body poll.”

JMM, on the other hand, seems to be moving ahead with its intentions to join the proposed “third front”, for which it has received an invitation from former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. A final decision is likely to be taken at a meeting of the central executive committee at Dumka on Sunday.

According to JMM's central committee member Ramesh Hansda, the party is planning to “re-position” itself in the state as the present equation has failed to yield results. “Jharkhand was made for tribals but we have not been able to do anything for them. The JMM is trying to unite different people’s organisations to fulfil the regional aspirations could be fulfilled,” he said.

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