Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Kalpana rallies INDIA bloc for next meet

- HT Correspond­ent letters@hindustant­imes.com

The upcoming Indian National Developmen­tal Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) bloc rally in Ranchi on April 21 is widely seen as an effort of Kalpana Soren, who is married to jailed former Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren, with two opposition functionar­ies saying she personally invited several leaders to join the rally.

Kalpana Soren made her first appearance on the INDIA platform during the opposition rally at Delhi’s Ramlila Maidan on March 31.

“West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee got an invitation call from Kalpana Soren. But the CM told her that she is busy in the campaign and that the TMC will be represente­d in the rally,” a senior Trinamool Congress leader said.

G Deverajan, general secretary of the Forward Bloc, a Left constituen­t, said, “I didn’t get any call from Kalpana so far. But the JMM invitation came through Kalpana. I was not surprised. She has started attending all party meetings and was the face of the JMM in the Delhi rally.”

The theme of the Ranchi rally — the first INDIA bloc public gathering after the polling starts on April 19 — would be “save democracy,” two opposition leaders said, adding that the rally is aimed as a “force multiplier” for the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), which has suffered a setback after the arrest of its most important leader Hemant Soren.

Jharkhand will go to polls in three phases on May 13, May 20 and May 25. The JMM will contest the polls in alliance with the Congress, the RJD and CPI-ML.

Soren, the JMM chief, was arrested by the Enforcemen­t Directorat­e (ED) as part of its money laundering probe into an alleged land grabbing case on January 31, shortly after he resigned as the chief minister.

The INDIA bloc has so far organised three public rallies— in Patna, Mumbai and Delhi.

“If you look at it closely, all the rallies have taken place where the Congress has poll allies. The next one will be organised in Tamil Nadu on April 12. Both chief minister MK Stalin and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi would be present in that rally,” a senior Congress leader said.

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Kalpana Soren

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