JMM, Cong an­nounce three-party al­liance

Hindustan Times (Ranchi) - - Front Page - Vishal Kant [email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ■

RANCHI: The Jhark­hand Mukti Mor­cha (JMM) and the Congress on Fri­day an­nounced that the two par­ties would con­test the up­com­ing elec­tion for Jhark­hand as­sem­bly in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Lalu Prasad-led Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD). The Bab­u­lal Marandi-led JVM (P) pulled out of the pro­posed op­po­si­tion al­liance ear­lier this week and said it would con­test all 81 as­sem­bly seats.

The JVM (P)’s exit is blow for the al­liance which was hop­ing to re­peat the group­ing in place dur­ing the sum­mer’s Lok Sabha polls.

The Bharatiya Janata Partyled NDA won 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the state.

The Congress and the JMM an­nounced that the leader of the op­po­si­tion in the out­go­ing as­sem­bly, He­mant Soren of the JMM, will be pro­jected as the al­liance’s chief min­is­te­rial face.

How­ever, ques­tions re­main about the RJD’s en­thu­si­asm for the al­liance af­ter leader of op­po­si­tion in Bi­har, Te­jashwi Ya­dav, did not join the press brief­ing ad­dressed by JMM and Congress lead­ers at the press club here. Ya­dav did at­tend the meet­ing of the three al­liance con­stituents held at the res­i­dence of He­mant Soren, ahead of the joint press con­fer­ence, Congress and JMM lead­ers said.

An­nounc­ing the seat shar­ing ar­range­ment in pres­ence of JMM work­ing pres­i­dent, He­mant Soren, Jhark­hand Congress in-charge RPN Singh said the JMM would con­test 43 of the 81 as­sem­bly seats, the Congress, 31 and the RJD, 7.

Singh also an­nounced that He­mant Soren, a for­mer chief min­is­ter, would be the chief min­is­te­rial face of the pro­posed op­po­si­tion al­liance.

The three par­ties de­cided not to part­ner with the Left par­ties. The ear­lier plan was to form a grand al­liance that in­cluded these.

“We have put forth an al­ter­na­tive be­fore the peo­ple to re­move the BJP from power, ir­re­spec­tive of it be­ing called an al­liance or a grand al­liance,” Singh told re­porters, re­ply­ing to ques­tion over re­duc­tion in num­ber of the al­liance part­ners as pro­posed ear­lier.

De­fend­ing the ab­sence of RJD from the presser, He­mant Soren said talks are still on with the RJD lead­er­ship and ev­ery­thing will fall in place soon.

“Many de­ci­sions are taken in the RJD af­ter dis­cus­sions with party pres­i­dent, Lalu Prasad, who is in jail . There are re­stric­tions of him meet­ing out­siders. I have been in dis­cus­sion with the RJD lead­er­ship on a reg­u­lar ba­sis. He is aware of the larger contours of the pro­posed al­liance. He, how­ever, had raised some is­sues, which I will be ad­dress­ing at op­por­tune time. Ev­ery­thing will be set­tled soon,” said He­mant.

On the is­sue of op­tions still left for ad­just­ment of few seats for the Left, Soren said “many such is­sues will be set­tled in due course”.

JMM mem­bers said He­mant Soren will be meet­ing in­car­cer­ated RJD chief Lalu Prasad on Satur­day---the ded­i­cated day for Prasad to meet a max­i­mum of three vis­i­tors.

His son, Te­jashwi Ya­dav, how­ever, met his fa­ther with spe­cial per­mis­sion on Fri­day evening at RIMS, where the RJD chief is un­der­go­ing treat­ment,

Se­nior RJD leader Jai Prakash Narayan Ya­dav, in-charge of Jhark­hand, played down the ab­sence of Ya­dav at the presser and said it would not af­fect the al­liance.

“It is not a big is­sue. Yes, there are some is­sues over seat shar­ing of few seats. But we will sort them out in due course,” said Ya­dav.

On Thurs­day, af­ter meet­ing He­mant Soren, Te­jashwi Ya­dav con­firmed that the RJD would be part of the al­liance and con­test un­der lead­er­ship of Soren.

On Fri­day evening af­ter meet­ing his fa­ther, Lalu Prasad, at Ranchi In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sciences (RIMS), Ya­dav said the num­ber of seats al­lo­cated to RJD was not a ma­jor is­sue and their aim was to un­seat the BJP from power.

“I have in­formed the na­tional pres­i­dent of the an­nounce­ment made at the press con­fer­ence. We will abide by what­ever de­ci­sion he takes,” Te­jashwi said.

“It is un­likely that the RJD would stay away from the al­liance as pri­mary aim of Lalu Prasad at this stage is to re­move BJP from power. How­ever, keep­ing the Left out of the al­liance would dent their prospects as par­ties like CPI, CPI (ML) and MCC have their pocket of in­flu­ence, es­pe­cially in North Ch­hotanag­pur. With JMM and Congress hav­ing so many seats, they could eas­ily ac­com­mo­date the Left,” said LK Kun­dan, who teaches po­lit­i­cal sci­ence at Ranchi Uni­ver­sity.

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