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Friday, Dec 13, 2019

Balmuchu joins AJSU, third ex-Congress Jharkhand president to desert party in 2 months

Speaking to reporters after joining the AJSU Party in presence of its president Sudesh Mahto, Balmuchu said his decision is guided by his effort to save his ‘rajnaitik zameen’ (political support base).

assembly-elections Updated: Nov 15, 2019 06:29 IST
Vishal Kant
Vishal Kant
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Balmuchu is likely to be fielded from Ghatsila.
Balmuchu is likely to be fielded from Ghatsila. (HT Photo)
         

Former president of Congress’ Jharkhand unit Pradeep Balmuchu on Thursday joined the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) Party, becoming the third chief of the state unit to desert the party in the last two months.

Balmuchu quit after being denied the party ticket from Ghatsila assembly seat, which has been allotted to the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) in the seat-sharing formula in the opposition alliance for the five-phase assembly election from November 30.

The JMM, Congress and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) have forged an alliance and shared the 81 seats in the assembly in the ratio 43:31:7 respectively.

In September, former president Ajoy Kumar had joined the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) around a month after he relinquished the party post following senior party leaders demanding his resignation and blaming him for the party’s dismal performance in the Lok Sabha elections.

Sitting legislator Sukhdeo Bhagat, who headed the state unit before Ajoy Kumar, joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in October.

The ruling party in Jharkhand has fielded Bhagat from Lohardaga this time round. Bhagat had resigned protesting the appointment of incumbent party chief Rameshwar Oraon as Kumar’s successor.

Bhagat had blamed Oraon for his loss from the Lohardaga Lok Sabha seat with a narrow margin and accused him of sabotaging his election campaign. Incidentally, Bhagat and Oraon are locked in a battle in Lohardaga assembly seat as the BJP and Congress candidates respectively.

Speaking to reporters after joining the AJSU Party in presence of its president Sudesh Mahto, Balmuchu said his decision is guided by his effort to save his ‘rajnaitik zameen’ (political support base).

“It’s not only to contest the election. Even the Congress is offering me to contest from another seat (than Ghatsila). But I have represented Ghatsila thrice in past before becoming Rajya Sabha member,” the three-time legislator and former Rajya Sabha member said.

“I had been preparing to contest from the seat and I would have cheated my supporters and voters if I chose to contest from somewhere else. So I had a discussion with my supporters and decided to join AJSU, which I was attached with before I became an MLA. The decision is to protect my rajnaitik zameen,” Balmuchu said.

Balmuchu is likely to be fielded from Ghatsila.

The AJSU Party’s chief Sudesh Mahto said the parliamentary board would soon take a call on it.

Ghatsila, reserved for members of Scheduled Tribes, goes to poll in the second phase of the assembly polls, nomination for which ends November 18.

It has been represented in the Jharkhand assembly thrice in the past by Balmuchu. In 2014, Balmuchu’s daughter contested the seat on a Congress ticket but lost to the BJP.

Reacting to the development, Jharkhand Congress spokesperson Kishore Shahdeo described the beeline of senior leaders leaving Congress as ‘plain opportunism’.

“Though it’s a matter of concern and the party leadership should engage in damage control and stop people from leaving the party, it’s equally true that these leaders have proved themselves to be opportunist,” Shahdeo said.

“The party has given important positions to all these leaders in the party besides making them MP and MLA. The onus was on them to stick with the party when it’s going through a rough phase. But these self-centred leaders have left looking for opportunity elsewhere,” he said.

The Jharkhand assembly elections will be held in five phases from November 30 and the counting of votes will take place on December 23.