The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Soren firm on bypoll

Dumka, Aug. 25: JMM chief Shibu Soren has no aspirations for the chief minister’s chair or a Union berth, at least for now. His priority is to help Suman Mahto win the Jamshedpur bypoll.

Addressing the media at his Bandarjori residence in Dumka after being released from jail today, Soren said the chief minister’s chair hardly mattered to him.

“I gave the chair to Madhu Koda, so my desire is certainly not for that,” he said.

Human resource development minister Bandhu Tirkey and health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi, both pokerfaced, were sitting beside Soren.

He was non-committal about seeking a ministerial berth in the Manmohan Singh cabinet.

“I will be going to Parliament and will meet the Prime Minister and Soniaji there,” he said.

Dressed in white half-kurta and dhoti, the JMM chief said he plans to convince voters in Jamshedpur to elect his party candidate, who is the wife of the late Sunil Mahto. “Suman has been waiting for me and I will join her poll campaign in Jamshedpur tomorrow,” he said.

The JMM chief said he would put his hands on the shoulder of Mahto and request voters to elect his “daughter”.

On his satisfaction with the performance of the Koda government, he said: “I was in jail for nine months. Now that I have been released, we have to sit, review and discuss. Today is a day for celebration. Let us celebrate.”

Soren was released from Dumka central jail around 1.10pm. As Soren’s motorcade rushed towards Bandarjori, party workers in upbeat mood encircled the vehicles.

JMM cadre danced and smeared green gulal on the roads. Soren is scheduled to reach Bokaro by road this evening.

Reports from Jamtara, people with garlands began gathering on the roadside to greet him. In places such as Mihijam, welcome tents have been erected to welcome him.

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