'Hunger and unemployment polls issues in Jharkhand'

Hemant Soren. File photo

Giving final touches to the formation of a grand alliance for 14 Lok Sabha seats in Jharkhand, former chief minister Hemant Soren said that issues like Pulwama terror attack and Rafale jet deal will not dominate the polls in Jharkhand, where people are battling “hunger and massive unemployment.”

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader, who was here in the national capital to finalise the seat-sharing formula with the Congress for the Lok Sabha polls, accused the BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of “war mongering” and said that the saffron party “will not get votes by playing politics around dead bodies.”

“Security force personnel generally come from the farmers' families which are starving. The BJP governments, both at the Centre and in the State, are not doing what it should do. Only waging war is not the job of the government,” he said on Saturday.

The Congress, which is out of power in the mineral-rich tribal-state for more than three decades, is likely to contest in seven out of the 14 seats while the remaining will be divided among allies including the JMM, Babulal Marandi's Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD).

Shibu Soren, the JMM supremo and the tallest tribal leader in Jharkhand, will contest the polls seeking yet another term.

As the talks reach final stage, efforts are on to bring on board the Left parties, which have some strong pockets of influence in the state.

Hemant held a meeting with the CPI leader D Raja in this connection.

He also met Congress president Rahul Gandhi and “conveyed” to him “the feelings” of the allies that the Left parties should also be taken on board “to add strength” to the grand alliance in Jharkhand.

In 2014, 12 seats were won by the BJP and the remaining two by the JMM in the state.

“With the grand alliance, we are hoping to win 13 out of the 14 seats in this election,” Hemant said.

For the first time, Marandi's JVM-P and Soren's JMM have come together to contest elections.

Marandi, a Santhali who floated his own party after quitting the BJP in 2006, was the first chief minister of Jharkhand when it was created as a separate state after the bifurcation of Bihar in 2000.

“We will make a formal announcement about our alliance and seat sharing formula in Ranchi in presence of our leaders including Soren after Holi,” Hemant said.

The JMM will also field its candidates in at least five Lok Sabha seats in Odisha in a pre-poll alliance with the Congress.

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