Indian Express

Soren says no to tie-up and joins BJD, his Orissa unit revolts

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Sudam Marandi (right) with CM Naveen Patnaik after joining BJD Saturday Sudam Marandi (right) with CM Naveen Patnaik after joining BJD on Saturday

The Orissa unit of JMM on Saturday revolted against Shibu Soren and joined the ruling BJD, hours after the JMM chief said no to an electoral tie-up with Naveen Patnaik. A week ago, the JMM had entered into electoral understanding in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh districts.

JMM’s state chief Sudam Marandi, who joined BJD with his partymen at Naveen Niwas in the evening, said he did not aspire for any ticket. BJD sources indicated Marandi is likely to be the party’s Lok Sabha candidate from Mayurbhanj.

Naveen said BJD would strengthen in Mayurbhanj, Sundargarh and Keonjhar with the latest development.

BJD sources said last week Naveen had agreed to the tie-up with JMM with an eye on winning Mayurbhanj and Sundargarh Lok Sabha seats. But once Soren insisted that there should not be any alliance with BJD as JMM was a partner of the Congress in Jharkhand, the state unit decided to revolt.

The BJD now hopes to retain its superiority in all nine assembly segments of Mayurbhanj Lok Sabha seats. Although the party won eight of the nine assembly seats and the lone Lok Sabha seat in Mayurbhanj in 2009, its MLAs had been facing public dissent.

In Sundargarh, where the BJD is on a weak wicket with two MLAs in the seven assembly segments, the party hopes to get the JMM’s share of votes for party candidate and former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, a Naveen favourite.

In 2009, JMM’s Livnus Kindo had managed to get substantial votes in each of the seven assembly segments of Sundargarh, leading to victory of Congrss candidate Hemananda Biswal.

In another development, BJD’s problem of getting a candidate for Koraput Lok Sabha seat was resolved after Hema Gamang, former MP and wife of senior Congress leader Giridhar Gamang, joined the party.

As sitting MP Jayram Pangi was unwilling to contest after revolt by local party leaders, BJD was finding it difficult to get a suitable candidate. Hema, who is expected to get BJD ticket, said she sent her resignation to Sonia Gandhi. “I have stated that I have been insulted by the state party leadership,” she said.

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