All 16 Congress MLAs have shown resentment at the JMM’s decision.
New Delhi: After the JMM nominated its own candidate on the Rajya Sabha seat of Jharkhand, cracks between the alliance partners JMM and Congress have started getting deeper. Sources said that all the 16 MLAs of Congress have shown resentment in the meeting held on Tuesday after the JMM’s decision to field its own candidate was announced. The leaders in the meeting also said that all the Congress ministers in the alliance government should resign and not be a part of the government anymore.
In the meeting, Congress leaders also raised the issue of not having proportionate say in the government. “If we break the alliance and come in the opposition, at least we can raise public issues,” a Congress leader said. The Congress leaders believe the alliance is no more fruitful for them as they blame JMM of never letting the Congress bargain, which they think has reduced the organisational value of the grand old party. The frustration in the party is based on many factors, one being JMM reluctant to appoint Congress minister as the 12th member of the cabinet.
To the dismay of Congress, this time, the party was expecting the seat for itself, but the JMM surprisingly nominated Mahua Maji for the RS seat. Last time too, Congress had conceded the seat to the JMM. For now, according to sources, the party will adopt a wait and watch approach and reassess its relationship with JMM until the bypolls in Mandar which will be held on 23 June. The bypolls to the Assembly seat was necessitated following disqualification of MLA Bandhu Tirkey as a member of the Jharkhand Assembly after a judgment by a special CBI court.
Meanwhile, the state unit leadership is busy renegotiating terms and conditions with the party. “The alliance is on the verge of breakup and soon a decision could be taken about it,” the Congress leader said. According to experts, to break the alliance wouldn’t be easy for the Congress, as, one, it is struggling nationally to keep its leadership together, two, it is losing power and grappling to keep alliances intact in states, minimising the party’s role in state and national politics. The break-up of the alliance in Jharkhand would mean the party’s further plunge in power politics. The grand old party is in power only in one state of Rajasthan. The party is in coalition in three other states of Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Supriyo Bhattacharya, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha spokesperson, told The Sunday Guardian, “Nothing has happened; from day one, they have said we have sufficient numbers and the candidate should be from your side, no break-up is going to happen, everyone is satisfied. They have not filed their candidate and they support us. This coalition was made between three parties before polls; this pre-poll alliance will have to stand and honour the mandate given by the people. People have given us mandate for five years up to 2024; what appears after 2024 is another issue.” Despite repeated calls, Avinash Pandey, Jharkhand Congress in-charge, didn’t respond to calls.