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|August 23, 1999||
JPP merges with JMM
Ajay Verma in Ranchi
In a significant pre-poll development, the Jharkhand Peoples Party today merged with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha to strive unitedly for the creation of a separate Jharkhand state and check the growth of national political parties, particularly the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress, in the tribal belt of Bihar.
Announcing this at a press conference, JPP chief Vinod Bhagat expressed full faith in the leadership of JMM chief Shibu Soren. He said he and his partymen would fight for the realisation of the five-decade-old statehood demand under Soren's leadership. ''The merger is unconditional,'' he added.
Bhagat, who had contested the 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha polls from Lohradagga (scheduled tribe) constituency and is presently the executive councillor in the Jharkhand Area Autonomous Council, said the merger decision was taken by the JPP in the larger interests of Jharkhand.
To a query, Bhagat said he had no intention of contesting the Lok Sabha election this time. The Morcha has made legislator Vishwanath Bhagat its candidate for the Lohradagga parliamentary seat, he said.
He said that the formation of the new state had been delayed by national political parties as ''we, who could have pressurised them, are ourselves divided''.
The need of the hour is that the Jharkhandis must come under a common banner and fight unitedly for the cause, he said calling upon the other Jharkhand parties to shed their personal interests and merge with the Morcha for a decisive fight to realise the region's demand.
He said he had decided to join the Morcha as it had a political and electoral identity in the area and was the largest Jharkhand party to have struggled for the state's creation since its inception in 1972.
The JPP, floated in 1991, has two members in the assembly and is also proportionately represented in the JAAC along with the other Jharkhand parties. It had contested on its own the 1996 and 1998 Lok Sabha elections and the 1995 assembly poll.
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