Congress President Sonia Gandhi may know that her party has never been free from factional feud in Jharkhand. This time, however,some eminent Congress leaders in this state are daggers drawn on ethnic lines.The party high command has,intriguingly,decided to turn a blind eye to the development.During the past 12 years since this state was created in 2000,Jharkhand unit of the party had six presidents.Pradeep Balmuchu continues to hold the office since 2005.
As a leader of the party,his track record was far from satisfactory.In 2009 when he was the party head,he along with the then functionaries Deputy CM Stephen Marandi,Speaker Alamgir Alam,Leader of the Opposition Manoj Yadav and other MLAs such as Sukhdeo Bhagat,Furkan Ansari and Radha Krishna Kishore had lost the Assembly elections.
Then,the party’s candidate Sunil Sahay,brother of ex Union Minister Subodh Kant Sahay, lost his security deposit in Hatia by poll.Balmuchu,who was the party’s candidate in the Jamshedpur Lok Sabha by poll,had himself lost his security deposit.
Now when the high command is looking for the successor of Balmuchu,an Adivasi and party’s Rajya Sabha MP,the party is in diarray.It lacked popular support at the ground zero.At the district and the state level,its MPs and MLAs had their own workers.Most of them were at war with each other.
Against this backdrop,two senior leaders of the party were engaged in a war of words on a primordial issue-ethnicity of his successor.Marandi,who is in the race for the top post,is harping on his inherited status as Adivasi Christian.His logic?
“In this state,the support base of the party has shrunk.Adivasis were traditionally with the Congress.If Adivasi is made to grace the post,the support base will increase.Since leader of the opposition is RP Singh,a non Adivasi,claim of Adivasi to this post gains strength,”says Marandi.
Other than Marandi,three Adivasi leaders were in the race for the post.They were :Gita Shree Oraon,Sukhdeo Bhagat and Balmuchu himself.Although none of them had expressed their views on the issue,they shared Marandi’s sentiments that the next president will be from among Adivasis.
Their stand was not acceptable to Sarfaraz Ahmad.”The Congress party in this state needs a full time president who is committed to the party and is acceptable to all.We must not talk in terms of Adivasi and non Adivasi”,says Ahmad.