| Soren addresses a meeting of JMM MLAs at the party headquarters in Ranchi on Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
Ranchi, Nov. 5: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren sounded the early election bell, while a crucial UPA meeting called tomorrow left the state Congress in the cold.
Despite a written request by Soren, the state UPA convener, and repeated reminders over telephone from chief minister’s office, the Congress leaders, including some MPs have chosen to stay away. Most of them are camping in Delhi to impress upon party president Sonia Gandhi to tighten the noose around Madhu Koda.
The letter to the UPA partners mentions that the proposed meeting was to discuss preparations for the Foundation Day on November 15, resettlement and rehabilitation policy, common minimum programme for the Koda government and such other vital issues, including Naxalism and welfare of state.
State Congress chief Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu confirmed that his party would “boycott” the meeting. He questioned Soren’s “ability” to “resolve” issues like R&R policy, common minimum programme, Naxalism and Foundation Day preparations among others in just two hours.
Insiders maintained that through their decision to boycott the proposed meeting, the Congress members intend to cut to size both Soren and Koda.
The Congress feels after having succeeded in “getting posted” choicest officials at key positions, now they are demanding a lion’s share in the boards and corporations, even as Koda pleads that he would execute all the UPA decisions.
As per agreed terms, the Congress was given TVNL and RRDA. Congress legislative party leader Manoj Yadav’s name was “reportedly” recommended for TVNL chief and Simdega legislator Niel Tirkey’s name for RRDA chairman.
On the other hand, Soren said at a meeting organised by JMM involving its MLAs at the party headquarters that, “Elections loom large in the state. It is time our leaders and workers start preparing.”
Of the 17 legislators, 13 were present at the meeting, including the three ministers in the UPA government — Nalin Soren, Sudhir Mahto and Dulal Bhuiyan. The meeting lasted for fours hours.
An MLA said: “Soren is peeved about the manner in which Koda is ignoring his allies in important decisions.”
There was, however, no discussion on withdrawal of support to the government — JMM is the main coalition partner.