The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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JMM soft on new front call
- Leaders for wait-&-watch policy

Dumka/Jamshedpur, June 10: Members of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) seem to have softened their stand on the “third front” issue.

At the central executive committee meeting of the party here this evening, the senior leaders have taken a soft stand to counter the delimitation ghost. “We should wait and watch the situation,” was the general suggestion.

But, if insiders are to be believed, JMM chief Shibu Soren reportedly conveyed his instructions to his lieutenants not to take such “risks” apprehending the possibilities of spoiling the fate of the party.

Earlier, JMM was divided on the issue of whether to continue its support to the UPA government or not over the delimitation commission of India’s proposed step to decrease the reserved Assembly and Lok Sabha seats for tribals.

However, the delimitation commission is said to have sent the proposal back to the Centre for its final call.

The sudden decision of the party chief has bewildered the firebrand MP from Rajmahal Lok Sabha seat, Hemlal Murmu, as he, along with others, were apparently in a mood to air their voice against the central government.

Later, Murmu and deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto announced that the party was still in the UPA but if their demands in the delimitation matter would not be fulfilled, the party may quit UPA in the future.

Addressing newspersons, the leaders said the party would launch a mass awareness campaign from June 12. Besides, the JMM would also organise meetings with the like-minded parties on June 16 to chalk out strategy to mount pressure on the central government to counter the commission’s approach. A memorandum signed jointly by other parties would be sent to Prime Minister soon, they said.

Mahto clarified that the party should concentrate on the Parliament rather than the commission. “Since all the steps would be finally approved by the Parliament, we have decided to focus on it,” he said.

Durga Soren, former MLA and elder son of JMM chief Shibu Soren, said the party should not gear up its agitation against the commission rather it should oppose the commission’s attitude towards Jharkhand.

Observers said Soren was instrumental in freezing the temper of some his agitating leaders. “Soren prefers to be in the good book of the Centre because of the CBI inquiry and also wants to protect his membership in the Parliament. Due to his prolonged absence in the House, his membership is in question,” they said.

The observers also pointed out that for Soren the question of his own “safety and security” inside the jail is more important that any other thing.

“What is the need of organising such meeting at a place like Dumka' It was because of Soren’s presence at the Dumka central jail that he wanted to hold the meeting here so that he could guide the leaders,” they said.

The meeting that started late in the afternoon was presided over by party MP Teklal Mahto and was attended by all the members of the executive committee.

The party, said an insider, now wants all pro-tribal and pro-Jharkhand organisations to come on one platform. The burning issue of delimitation has given the party a reason to unite all such forces.

“This is the time when all such forces come under one umbrella and work for a common cause,” said Ramesh Hansda, a member of the party’s central committee.

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