The Telegraph
Tuesday , May 13 , 2014
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Simon fate left to Soren Senior

- JMM divided on action against rebels, Hemant adopts tough stance

Ranchi, May 12: Chief minister Hemant Soren today vowed to quell all voices of dissent within the party, but fell short of taking any hasty step against now-expelled minister Simon Marandi for anti-organisation activities.

A cautious JMM has, ultimately, left the decision on patriarch Shibu Soren to decide the fate of the Littipara MLA.

During a marathon meeting of the party’s extended central executive committee at the Morabadi residence of the JMM chief, Hemant vented his ire against the disgruntled leaders, who have been denting the party’s image.

Party MLAs, district unit presidents and other functionaries also took part in the meeting chaired by Soren.

Hemant, who dropped Marandi from his ministry last week, slammed the MLA for his open revolt during the parliamentary elections that caused “serious damages” to the party’s prospect in the Santhal Pargana region.

Sources said what pained Hemant the most was Marandi’s call to his supports to defeat Guruji from Dumka constituency, where the JMM chief was facing a serious challenge from JVM supremo Babulal Marandi.

Hemant apart, the party leaders, nonetheless, appeared divided on taking any harsh step against Marandi at this juncture, especially when the very existence of the JMM-led government is in danger.

While a faction of members demanded that Simon be suspended from the party immediately, a good number of leaders, like MLA Mathura Prasad Mahto, cautioned the senior leadership against any hasty move.

Mahto urged the party leaders to allow the Littipara MLA an opportunity to explain his position.

“Suspension or expulsion will not be a permanent solution… he should be given another chance,” Mahto added.

Insiders claimed apart from Mahto, a number of other members contended that Marandi had sufficiently been punished after being dismissed from the ministry.

“The coalition government headed by Hemant is in troubled waters right now. If expelled from the party, Marandi may become the Opposition’s fodder against the government,” a senior party leader confided.

The party leaders put the ball in Senior Soren’s court.

“A decision on Simon Marandi’s role in the party will be taken by Shibu Soren. He will take a decision very soon. Those, who do not want to stay in the party, can leave on their own. Our party doesn’t show the door to anybody,” JMM spokesperson and central secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya told the media after the meeting.

Internal bickering apart, the today’s meeting also focused on the party’s strategy for the Assembly elections likely to be held within six months or so.

Majority was in favour of contest all the 81 seats. “This is a general view. The members believe that pre-poll pacts do not suit the party. Nevertheless, a final decision will be taken only by our central leadership,” Bhattacharya said.

The meeting also analysed performance of the party in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections.

The JMM contested four seats — Dumka, Rajmahal, Giridih and Jamshedpur, and officially extended support to the Congress in nine seats and the RJD in one seat.

The party is said to be confident of winning Dumka and Giridih, but is not quite hopeful about Rajmahal. And insiders termed Jamshedpur as a “totally lost case”.

Hemant directed party leaders to hold a scientific study of the poll results at the micro level to work out strategies for the Assembly polls.