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Opposition to put up consensus candidate

india Updated: Jan 18, 2011 19:04 IST
Madan Kumar

Leading opposition parties in Jharkhand on Tuesday stepped-up their efforts to put up a consensus candidate against chief minister Arjun Munda in Kharsawan assembly polls, soon after the ruling alliance of BJP-JMM-AJSU Party formally declared Munda as its joint candidate.

Senior leaders of the main opposition parties like the Congress and the Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) on Tuesday held a close door meeting in the state capital to short out the hurdles coming in the way of putting up a consensus candidate against Munda. At the meeting the Congress state president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu expressed willingness to field a consensus candidate in Kharsawan by-election and sought cooperation from the JVM (P).

The JVM (P) leaders reportedly told the Congress that they had already decided the name of Krishna Gagarai as its candidate and asked the Congress to support Gagarai, if they really wanted a consensus candidate.

To this, Balmuchu assured the JVM (P) that he would place the matter before the Congress leadership in New Delhi and try to convince them for a consensus candidate, the JVM(P) spokesperson Saroj told Hindustan Times.

The JVM(P) is also trying to get support of the Rashtriya Janta Dal and some other regional Jharkhand-based parties for its candidate to give a tough contest to Munda.

Earlier in the day, the ruling alliance of BJP-JMM-AJSU Party formally declared that chief minister Arjun Munda would be the joint nominee of the alliance in the assembly by-poll, scheduled to be held on February 10.

“Arjun Munda will be joint candidate of the ruling alliance in Kharsawan assembly by-poll,” Sibu Soren said at a joint press conference with Arjun Munda in Ranchi, the state capital of Jharkhand.

Sudesh Mahto, the deputy chief minister in Munda Government and president of All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party, was also present.

Soren’s announcement came a day after Munda call on him and sought his cooperation in the by-poll.

Earlier on January 13, Soren had astonished the BJP leadership after he said his party would field a candidate for the Kharsawan assembly by-poll.

The by election for the seat was necessitated after BJP MLA Mangal Singh Soy resigned on November 30 to pave way for the chief minister to contest from the seat.

Munda, presently a Lok Sabha member from Jamshedpur, took oath as chief minister on September 11. In view of the constitutional requirement, Munda is required to become a member of the state legislative assembly on or before March 10 this year, if he wants to retain the post of CM.

Munda has represented Kharsawan seat thrice in 1995, 2000 and 2005 and enjoys a massive support base in the constituency. In 2009, Munda got elected for the Lok Sabha from Jamshedpur seat and in his place the party fielded Mangal Singh Soy, who won the assembly polls in 2010 by a huge margin with the blessings of Munda. When Munda became chief minister in September last and was looking for a seat to enter the state assembly, Soy resigned on November 30 to pave way for his mentor.