Ranchi: Jharkhand chief minister Hemant Soren will canvass for Congress candidates in poll-bound Assam and for the Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress in West Bengal, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) announced on Tuesday. He will, however, not target any of the ruling Mahagathbandhan parties (Congress and RJD) during his campaigns.
“Our working president’s (Hemant) campaigning schedules for Assam and West Bengal are being worked out and will be announced soon,” JMM general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya said.
Though Bhattacharya did not divulge further details, party sources said Hemant will begin his campaign from the tribal-dominated pockets of Assam to keep its coalition partner Congress back home in good humour.
Bhattacharya, however, downplayed speculations that JMM’s canvassing for TMC in Bengal can lead to a strain in the ties with Congress. The Grand Old Party has forged an alliance with Banerjee’s arch-rivals, the CPI(M)-led Left Front, which is trying to grab the power back after a decade in the neighbouring state. Congress had forged a coalition briefly with the TMC in 2011 but had exited soon after.
Earlier this month, JMM had abandoned its ambitions to contest in Bengal and decided to canvass for TMC after Soren was persuaded by RJD’s Tejaswi Yadav, NCP president Sharad Pawar, DMK chief MK Stalin and Banerjee herself.
“We will only canvass against BJP. As a party, we thought that it was important to stop the saffron party by fighting as a team in West Bengal. The party has polarized West Bengal completely. We have also lent our support to MK Stalin’s party (DMK) in Tamil Nadu,” Bhattacharya said.
He also said the party is also alarmed with the deployment of 1,045 companies of paramilitary personnel in Bengal. “It is unprecedented. It seems that the state has been turned into a cantonment,” Bhattacharya claimed.
JMM also demanded that the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre must bring petroleum products under the GST to regulate rising prices and ease the lives of commuters by relaxing toll taxes. “JMM is deeply concerned with the rising price of petroleum products and demands immediate measures for its regulation,” Bhattacharya said.
The party also praised the Soren government’s decision to reserve 75% jobs in the private sector for locals and the announcement of an annual stipend to unemployed youngsters along with the provision to give one time Rs 1 lakh compensation to the kin of road accident victims. “Soon, our government will make the public sector units operating in Jharkhand comply with the reservation norms,” Bhattacharya added.