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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

‘Can’t see any Modi wave in Jharkhand’: Former Jharkhand CM Shibu Soren

‘There were pushes and pulls in the alliance formation, which is natural. But all parties in the coalition are serious’ said Shibu Soren, leader of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and former chief minister.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: May 14, 2019 09:29 IST
Gautam Mazumdar
Gautam Mazumdar
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
Former Chief minister of Jharkhand Shibu Soren says he sees no Modi wave in Jharkhand.
Former Chief minister of Jharkhand Shibu Soren says he sees no Modi wave in Jharkhand.(Bijay/Hindustan Times)
         

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader and former chief minister, Shibu Soren, 75, is contesting Lok Sabha elections from Dumka that will go to the polls on May 19. He spoke to Gautam Mazumdar about the national polls, his political future and the prospects of the grand opposition alliance in Jharkhand. Edited excerpts:

How many seats will the JMM, Congress, Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantrik) and Rashtriya Janata Dal alliance get in Jharkhand?

There were pushes and pulls in the alliance formation, which is natural. But all parties in the coalition are serious. All parties and leaders have put in their best efforts. I am not into any number game. Hopefully, we will do fairly well in the Lok Sabha election and set the stage for the assembly polls [due in December].

What are the overall prospects of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jharkhand?

I cannot say. [They] must be doing the mathematics. A party cannot think big for long on borrowed leadership and depending on outsiders anywhere.

Are you in favour of more parties joining your alliance in a post-poll scenario to form a government at the Centre?

There is no harm in adding to our strength for a stable and strong government at the Centre.

Who could be the leader of the united opposition for the Prime Ministerial post?

A leader is elected after the election. That is the democratic process. After elections, leaders of the opposition parties will elect a leader if they are in a position to form a government.

Is there a wave in favour of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election?

What is the Modi wave? I do not know. I cannot feel it in Jharkhand. People do politics for the people in their respective areas. [RJD leader] Lalu [Prasad] became a mass leader of Bihar doing politics for the poor and downtrodden. Modi did it in his state [Gujarat] and I am doing it in Jharkhand.

Is it your last election?

Only time will tell. But I am not bidding adieu right now.

Is BJP’s Sunil Soren giving you a tough fight? How sure are you are about your win?

He is a kid, contesting for some time. But I will win.

The BJP has called the JMM baap-beta ki party (father-son party). What do you have to say?

There are several families in the country, where the father and son are doing a great job for society. I am hardly bothered about such allegations.

What is your strategy to counter Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh that has deployed 500 men in Dumka to ensure the BJP’s win?

I do not have any strategy, though my party men might be having one. I fight elections in an old fashioned way by meeting people, knowing their problems and then trying solving them. No tall claims or assurances...

First Published: May 14, 2019 08:07 IST