The Telegraph
Thursday , April 25 , 2013
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Marandi eyes minority support

Ranchi, April 24: The JVM 12-point minority demand charter rally at Morabadi grounds this afternoon had a crowd of 4,000 instead of the 50,000 predicted by Babulal Marandi yesterday, but his ardour towards the community before Assembly polls, likely by this year-end, was evident.

Despite the embarrassingly thin audience, the former RSS pracharak Marandi, sporting a traditional green headgear, used the six-hour-long rally to send strong feelers to Congress, Ajsu and JMM that the JVM was a serious contender of minority votes.

Yesterday’s news meet with the “50,000 turnout” boast spurred Ranchi district administration to swing into action and make elaborate security arrangements from Raj Bhavan to Morabadi. Marandi and 50 aides were arrested after the rally before they could reach Raj Bhavan, probably the highlight of today’s show.

At Morabadi, JVM leaders made passionate speeches on minority woes. JVM leaders added minorities should realise they were being “made fools of and used by the Congress” for over six decades.

“No party ever thought of holding a rally to discuss minority-based issues. Vote us to power and we will solve your problems within six months. Beware of parties fooling you,” Marandi thundered.

He lambasted the BJP-JMM-Ajsu coalition as “anti-minority”. “The government denied aid to 593 madarsas in Jharkhand. Even after seven years, Haj House wasn’t completed. Four thousand posts of Urdu teachers are lying vacant. Two parties with so-called secular faces held key positions in that government. Where were they when the government denied the community its rights?” he said.

His partymen were direct.

“Suddenly Ajsu chief Sudesh Mahto has stated clamouring for a secular tag. Ajsu toh BJP ka ghora hai (Ajsu is merely BJP’s horse). JMM is no more secular after it joined hands with BJP. JVM is for you,” party general secretary Pradeep Yadav said.

Marandi promised a cradle on the lines of Aligarh University, government aid for madarsas, jobs, support to stop the alleged witch-hunting of youths in the name of anti-terrorism, among others.