Soren rejects Munda’s plea, JMM joins Jamshedpur by-poll (Lead)

June 11th, 2011 - 8:29 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Ranchi, Jun 11 (IANS) Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren, who also heads the ruling alliance’s steering committee, Saturday turned down Chief Minister Arjun Munda’s request not to field a candidate in the Jamshedpur parliamentary constituency by-poll and to support the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), JMM leaders said.

Soren later announced former deputy chief minister Sudhir Mahto would be the JMM candidate for the by-poll. The BJP is likely to name of its candidate Sunday.

Earlier, Munda made last-ditch effort to persuade the JMM not to field its candidate for the election.

The chief minister met Soren at his official residence in the Morabadi Grounds and requested Soren not to field a JMM candidate in the by-poll, slated for July 1. But Soren said his party had already decided to contest, JMM sources said. Munda left Soren’s house in just 15 minutes, the sources said.

After the meeting, Soren’s son and Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren said the JMM would contest the by-poll but denied any problems in the ruling alliance due to his party’s decision.

Munda had cut short his US visit and arrived in Ranchi Friday with the dual objective of deciding the party candidate and of persuading Shibu Soren not to field a JMM nominee in the by-poll. He was to return from his tour abroad Tuesday.

On his arrival, Munda asserted that Jamshedpur was a traditional seat of the BJP and the party would fight the poll. Later, BJP leaders authorised him to hold talks with Soren over the issue.

After Munda’s failure to dissuade Soren from fielding a JMM candidate, it seems the BJP and the JMM will campaign against each other in the by-poll.

The by-poll was necessitated after Munda quit his Lok sabha seat and got elected to the state assembly in February.

The Congress and Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Progressive (JVM-P), which had contested the last assembly polls together, also have decided to go their separate ways. The JVM-P has fielded Ajay Kumar, a former superintendent of police (SP) in the bypoll. The Congress has chosen party legislator Banna Gupta as party nominee and a formal announcement is likely on Sunday.

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