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HindustanTimes Sat,20 Sep 2014

Eye on polls, Cong woos deserters in Jharkhand

Rajesh Upadhyay and Anil Kumar, Hindustan Times  Ranchi, August 29, 2014
First Published: 00:25 IST(29/8/2014) | Last Updated: 12:06 IST(11/9/2014)

Ahead of assembly polls, the Congress in Jharkhand is trying to replenish its depleted political stock by reaching out to leaders who deserted the party after being sidelined during the Lok Sabha polls.

Prominent among these leaders is former Dhanbad MP Chandra Shekhar Dubey who had joined Trinamool Congress and contested the polls from Dhanbad after being denied a ticket by the Congress.

Dubey said that he met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in Delhi on Wednesday and had obliged her request that he work for the Congress in the upcoming assembly polls. “I left the party but not resigned from Congress’ primary membership and duly obliged her to work for the Congress,” he said.

Israel Ansari, the party’s face from Bokaro, is also re-joining the party and is likely to contest the assembly polls, Dubey said.     

The Congress is leading efforts to stitch together a grand alliance of anti-BJP forces in the state but is first seeking to put its own house in order.  The recent success of an alliance between former rivals, Janata Dal (United) and Rashtriya Janata Dal, in the Bihar bypolls has raised hopes among non-BJP forces in neighbouring Jharkhand.

The Congress in Jharkhand wants to woo back leaders who had switched allegiance to other parties — including the likes of Stephen Marandi, Radha Krishna Kishore, Kripa Shankar Chatterjee, Niel Tirkey and Mahesh Singh, among others

State Congress president Sukhdeo Bhagat, however, said the rapprochement has been initiated by the former party men, not the party. “We are giving a thought to it and the process is in the pipeline,” he said.

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