Congress, JMM to part ways in poll-bound Jharkhand

  • Gautam Mazumdar, Hindustan Times, Ranchi
  • Updated: Jul 21, 2014 19:07 IST

A possible break-up between the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and Congress has set the stage for a political churning in Jharkhand ahead of the crucial assembly elections due in November this year.

The JMM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) form the ruling dispensation in the state, a coalition propped up to install the Hemant Soren government last year.

Talks of a possible split gained ground after the Congress and National Conference split in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of the assembly polls and the alliance with the NCP alliance also wavering in Maharashtra.

However, the Congress is said to be in two minds on whether to keep the alliance in Jharkhand going or finding suitable alternatives or to go all alone in the assembly polls.

A section in the Pradesh Congress leaders are in favour of going to the polls in alliance with the JMM and roping in RJD as well, as it happened during the general election.

But another section in the Congress is of the view that joining hands with the JVM (P), JD (U) and Trinamool Congress would be a better option in Jharkhand and Bihar.

Rajya Sabha MP and former pradesh Congress president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu said the party should explore all options.

He reminded that the Congress had won 14 seats in 2009 polls by striking alliance with the JVM (P), which has 11 seats in its kitty.

He said a fresh tie-up should not be ruled out and mentioned that the Congress has to decide which regional parties to pick – the JMM or JVM (P), as both cannot co-exist.

Yet another section believes that the Congress should go alone in the polls to regain lost ground in Jharkhand.

Pradesh congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat too said that the party could give tickets to aspiring candidates, including youths and women if it contests more seats.

"The Congress is prepared for the assembly election and focusing on assembly constituencies. We have categorised the 81 assembly constituencies into three categories A, B and C. We have submitted the details to the AICC and are waiting for our central leadership to decide," Bhagat said.

The A category includes seats held by the party, B includes seats where Congress came second or third in 2009 and C are the insignificant seats where others -- JMM and RJD -- are strong.

JMM spokesperson Supriyo Bhattacharya, however, reminded that the JMM had conceded 10 seats to the Congress (the party gifted one seat to the RJD later) during Lok Sabha polls and said that the JMM would demand a larger share in the assembly polls.

"We will chalk it out during the seat-sharing talks before the polls," he said.

The JMM won two Lok Sabha seats, the Congress was washed out from all the nine seats it contested, including Ranchi which was with it and RJD too lost the lone seat of Palamu.

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