JMM to go solo in Bihar polls, accuses RJD of ‘political betrayal’
The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) has decided to go solo in Bihar polls after talks on seat adjustment with the RJD-led grand alliance hit a wall.
Announcing the party stand on Tuesday, JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said that the party will contest seven assembly seats of Bihar. The seats are: Jhajha, Chakai, Katoria (ST), Dhamdaha, Manihari (ST), Pirpainti (SC) and Nathnagar.
As alliance partner, the JMM felt it should have been given at least seven seats. However, the grand alliance was unwilling to give more than two seats.
JMM working president and Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren on Monday had a talk with RJD leader and Bihar opposition leader Tejashwi Yadav on seat adjustment. They failed to reach an agreement, following which the JMM decided not to be a part of the grand alliance in 2020 state polls and go it alone instead in the polls. Soren had met RJD chief Lalu Prasad in RIMS too in this regard earlier on September 12. The RJD chief, who is serving a jail term after being convicted in fodder scam cases, was admitted to RIMS with critical ailments.
A clear political stand was the need of the hour too after the failed talks, as three assembly segments - Jhajha, Chakai and Katoria would go to polls in the first phase on October 28. October 8 is the last date of nomination.
The JMM has also picked its candidates and the announcement is likely on Tuesday late evening, said party’s Bihar unit president Pranav Kumar. He said the RJD has ditched the JMM. He said the JMM used to contest 30-32 seats in Bihar but limited its claim to 12 this time honouring the coalition and RJD’s compulsion.
Making the announcement on Bihar election and declaring the seats, JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said the party arrived at the decision after waiting for long. “It is guided by the changed political situation of Bihar,” he said, drubbing the RJD action as “political betrayal”.
He reiterated that two days before Tejashwi had said the grand alliance will keep the JMM in its fold while announcing that the RJD would contest 144 seats.
“Greetings to you for the 144 seats that you will contest,” he said adding that “the key to the lock in the post-poll scenario will be with us, you will need it then.”
He also reminded Lalu’s oft repeated quote regarding social justice and political participation and questioned why it evaporated in thin air to accommodate the JMM. He, however, said the JMM respects Lalu and his leadership which will continue.
The JMM leader reminded the RJD that it didn’t have a single legislator in Jharkhand after the 2014 assembly poll results but still offered seven seats to it accommodating as an alliance partner in the 2019 election. He also said the JMM-led coalition government in Jharkhand has included the lone RJD MLA as cabinet minister in the government as well and questioned whether the RJD has forgotten political etiquette.
When asked whether the JMM would reconsider its decision of testing the poll waters alone in Bihar if the grand alliance is accommodative, Bhattacharya said, “The arrow has left the bow, it would be difficult to bring it in original position.”
He said, “We expected a respectable seat adjustment that has failed. We cannot compromise with respect.”
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- He is in Tamil Nadu to take stock of Congress’ preparation ahead of the legislative assembly elections due in April-May this year.