In what could be the first signs of a larger malaise within the party, JMM chief Shibu Soren’s younger brother Lalu Soren has joined the Trinamool Congress.
With that, the possibility of brothers contesting against each other for the Dumka Lok Sabha seat has come up, with TMC reportedly toying with the idea of fielding Lalu against sitting MP Shibu. Even otherwise, the fight for Santhal Parganas will be no walkover for the JMM, as the BJP has scheduled a Narendra Modi rally in Dumka on March 24.
Lalu, who was the JMM’s Bokaro district president, joined the TMC in Kolkata on February 27 in the presence of party general secretary Mukul Roy. He will be introduced to state-based TMC leaders in a meeting in Ranchi on Monday.
This is the third high-profile rift that the JMM has faced this year. In January, a large number of office-bearers of its frontal organisations had resigned from their positions alleging the party did not include them in its decision-making process. After elections to the Rajya Sabha last month, those of the Kurmi caste — led by three MLAs — rebelled. They were angry that the party had insulted Savita Mahato, from the family of one of the party’s co-founders, by offering her a seat and later turning her away.
The desertion of Lalu, who had been part of the Jharkhand movement since the beginning, will sting the party. “Lalu Soren got ambitious. People like this will come and go; the party will be unaffected,” said a JMM leader.