JMM eyes twin districts

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By GAUTAM SARKAR
  • Published 27.12.04
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Banka/Jamui, Dec. 27: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha has set its sights on the Banka and Jamui districts ? both with a sizeable tribal population ? for the Assembly election in Bihar.

The party recently held a public meeting at the Banka district headquarters where it promised to fight for the people of the region, including Jamui. JMM legislator from Poraiyahat in Jharkhand, Prashant Kumar Mandal, announced in the meeting that the party would contest all five Assembly seats in Banka and four in Jamui.

The MLA also announced that the party would launch a signature campaign to get public support for the inclusion of the two districts in Jharkhand.

?Banka and Jamui are similar to Jharkhand in terms of topography, culture and society. The people do want to be live under Laloo Prasad Yadav. After the campaign, we will send the signatures to the President, the Prime Minister and other people concerned,? Mandal told The Telegraph.

Convener of the Akhand Jharkhand People?s Front and a former Munger MP, Pratap Singh, was also willing to help the JMM provided the party ?respected the people?s sentiments?.

According to him, former president of the Jharkhand Adivasi Mahasabha, Jaymangal Singh, had first demanded a separate Jharkhand on April 4, 1954. He had also produced a map for the proposed ?Akhand Jharkhand Rajya? before a state committee on May 31, 1954, which included then Banka subdivision in Bhagalpur district and Jamui subdivision in Munger district, Pratap Singh added.

Claiming that the proposed Jharkhand included several other places, Mandal said, ?Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao too assured that the two districts would be included in Jharkhand during an Independence Day speech. We hope the UPA government would fulfil the demands of the people.?

JMM chief Shibu Soren said the JMM is ready to take up the cause of the people of Jamui and Banka as they do want to be part of Bihar. ?The central committee will work out the details of the election. For now, it?s certain that the JMM will contest the seats in these two districts,? he added.

An ally of the Rashtriya Janata Dal in the UPA government, the JMM has given RJD leaders in Bihar a food for thought with their stand on the two districts. Expressing concern, RJD parliamentarian from Banka, Girdhari Yadav, said: ?If the JMM comes here to contest the election, our friendship will be jeopardised.?

He added that some party MPs and MLAs will soon take up the matter with Laloo Prasad. ?We will make him aware of the facts and request him to convince his old friend, Shibu Soren,? Yadav said.

Political observers here feel that the JMM?s stand can prove counter-productive. ?Soren?s chief ministerial prospects hinge on Laloo Prasad to a certain extent. But knowing Soren, he will come up with a plan to kill two birds with one stone,? they said.