The Telegraph
Saturday , March 29 , 2014
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Disciple threat to Guruji in Dumka

Ranchi, March 28: The autumn of the patriarch is an uneasy one, as JMM supremo and sitting Dumka MP Shibu Soren is fighting this Lok Sabha polls against JVM boss Babulal Marandi and BJP nominee Sunil Soren, both of whom started their political careers with Soren’s party. And now, Soren Senior also faces the ire of one-time-loyalist-turned-foe, Congress strongman Stephen Marandi.

Opposed to the JMM-Congress pact from the start, former deputy chief minister Stephen threatened to quit the Congress and back JVM chief Babulal Marandi, even as state Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat is trying to pacify him.

The reason is unsurprising. Stephen, elected to Vidhan Sabha from Dumka on a JMM ticket in 1980, 1985, 1990, 1995 and 2000, gradually developed bitter differences with Soren. Stephen rebelled when Soren sent him to Rajya Sabha and announced fielding Hemant from Dumka Assembly seat in 2005. Resigning from Upper House, Stephen stood as an Independent and defeated Hemant. In 2009, it was Hemant’s turn to defeat Stephen, who had joined the Congress.

Both Babulal Marandi and Sunil Soren have sour memories of the JMM. While Babulal famously quit the JMM and then the BJP to start JVM in the mid-2000s, BJP candidate Sunil left JMM and defeated Soren Senior’s eldest son, the late Durga, who was his friend, in the Jama Assembly polls in 2005 on a BJP ticket.

“It’s politics of opportunism. Babulal Marandi figures nowhere. Our fight in Dumka is with the BJP,” JMM central committee member Supriyo Bhattacharya said.

Contacted, Babulal reminded he had beaten Soren Senior in the past and said Santhal Pargana was fed up with “underhand dealings” of the JMM, Congress and BJP. Countering this, BJP’s Arjun Munda said people looked up to the BJP and NaMo.

Dumka goes to polls on April 24. The last day to file nominations is April 5 and withdraw candidature is April 9.