Jharkhand chief minister and JMM working president Hemant Soren on Thursday rekindled the hope of a greater Jharkhand while launching the party’s West Bengal assembly poll campaign from Jhargram, the tribal dominated hinterland.
Addressing the JMM rally from Jamda circus maidan he said it was a calculated move by the Centre to fool the tribals creating two separate states – Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh while nurturing the tribal aspirations of their own homeland.
Birbhum, Midnapur, Jhargram, Bankura of West Bengal were parts of the greater Jharkhand movement launched by his father Shibu Soren along with a few districts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh, he said and reiterated that the people, tribals in particular, would have to launch a fresh stir to achieve that. West Bengal has five per cent of tribal population, he reminded.
“This is the launch of our party’s poll campaign; I will come again,” said Hemant Soren.
The JMM had contested 22 assembly seats in the 2016 state polls in West Bengal. This time the party is eyeing 25 to 30 seats in the neighbouring state.
Slamming the Centre he said the new farm laws were against the interest of the farmers. He also mentioned that the Centre was also planning land reforms.
The Jharkhand chief minister observed that everything was on sale be it railways, airlines, airports and wondered if blood would be cheaper than water in the future.
He said that polls are the stepping stone to democracy and appealed to the people to vote. Every vote counts, he stressed.
Jharkhand minister Champai Soren, JMM legislators Samir Mahanty and Ramdas Soren, West Bengal state unit secretary Bittu Murmu, party general secretary Supriyo Bhattacharya and veteran leader Hidayat Khan also addressed the gathering.
Reacting on the JMM rally, Trinamool Congress president and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee said it was unfair.
“What is this? I was the first person to attend his swearing-in ceremony and offer my full support to him and his party. And today he has come to Bengal to contest elections. He wants to field candidates. This is unfair.”
Addressing members of various non-Bengali communities at the Trinamool Congress headquarters on Thursday afternoon she said a large number of Bengalis are based in Jharkhand.
“Should we go there to contest polls? Maybe we should do that,” said Banerjee while appealing to the non-Bengali community to support the TMC and campaign against the BJP.
(With Inputs from Kolkata Bureau)