Congress tries to patch up differences with JMMMarch 5th, 2009 - 2:23 pm ICT by IANS
Ranchi, March 5 (IANS) With general elections round the corner, the Congress is trying to pacify an unhappy Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) to cement a seat sharing alliance and is assuring it help in forming a government in the state that is currently under president’s rule.
On Wednesday night, Kesav Rao, Jharkhand in-charge of Congress, met JMM chief Shibu Soren in New Delhi to discuss the issue of seat sharing. Soren is at the capital’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where he is undergoing treatment.
Relations between the two have soured with the JMM feeling that the Congress did not help when Shibu Soren had to resign as chief minister in January this year - after he lost the Tamar assembly by-poll - and president’s rule was imposed in the state.
JMM national general secretary Dulal Bhuiya had even said that the party would form a third front with smaller parties to take on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance in the state.
But the Congress seems ready to make amends now.
Though Jharkhand is under president’s rule, an alternative government could be considered because the assembly is under suspended animation. And the Congress is ready to think about it, said state Congress president Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu.
“If the JMM comes out with numbers, the formation of an alternative government cannot be ruled out. We as alliance partner will certainly support the JMM if they have the numbers,” Balmuchu told IANS.
JMM sources said the Congress had not only assured help in forming an alternative government, but also in convincing the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to support the move.
“We (JMM) can form the government and Shibu Soren could be the next chief minister. The Jamatara assembly election will take place on April 23 and Soren could contest,” said a JMM leader, confident that his chief would win despite losing another by-election in January.
That should pave the way for an understanding in the Lok Sabha elections that begin April 16.
Discussing the issue of sharing the 14 Lok Sabha seats in the states, Balmuchu said: “The state Congress has claimed nine of the 14 seats. We are ready to exchange some if the JMM proposes it. But the final decisions will be taken by the party leadership in New Delhi.”
Of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, the Congress has six and the JMM four. The JMM has also asked the Congress to support its candidates in two seats in Orissa and one in West Bengal.