JMM struggles in Guruji’s absenceApr 19th, 2009 | By Elections2009 | Category: Jharkhand
Party’s fight for survival compounded by revolt of elder son
Ranchi: Touted as the party single-handedly responsible for the formation of Jharkhand State, the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) is struggling to not only keep intact its mass base but also retain its political clout in the State in the prolonged absence of star campaigner and party president, Shibu Soren (Guruji to his followers), who is convalescing in a Delhi hospital.
The crisis has been further compounded by the revolt of Durga Soren, the elder son of Shibu Soren, who has jumped into the fray from the Godda Lok Sabha seat in spite of the seat being given to Congress in the seat adjustment pact. Despite being part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA), Mr. Durga Soren has been spewing poison at the Congress party and blames it for the present condition of his father. His younger brother, Hemant Soren is campaigning for his father, who is contesting the Lok Sabha seat from his stronghold Dumka and the Assembly by-election from Jamtara. Not all is well within the family as both the sons are pulling in different directions and have little in common.
“The Congress conspired to ensure that my father did not become the Chief Minister of Jharkhand and a JMM-led Government installed here. The Congress is weak in Godda and that is the reason I decided to contest from there,” the aggressive Mr. Durga Soren remarked.
As for Guruji, his absence from the political scenario could well lead to the disintegration of the JMM in the State. The party has been witnessing internal dissensions, a war of words among senior leaders — and the revolt by Mr. Durga Soren. Such is the situation that for the first time in the last eight years (after formation of the State) the party has not been able to release its party manifesto ahead of polls.
The Santhal Pargana region, the stronghold of the party, is missing “Guruji;” his absence and failing health are forcing the tribal people to think of an alternative, a sign that does not augur well for the party. “We are working hard to sustain the campaign till the end of the second phase. No doubt Mr. Shibu Soren’s absence is something that cannot be compensated but we will surely do well in all the seats we are contesting,” JMM spokesman and senior leader, Supriya Bhattacharaya, told The Hindu.
Political observers feel that the absence of Mr. Shibu Soren and the waywardness of Mr. Durga Soren could impact on the fortunes of the party. Senior colleagues of Mr. Shibu Soren, who are in the fray, are wary of the continued absence of the charismatic Guruji from the political arena.