JAMSHEDPUR: The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) will contest the coming panchayat polls in Assam.
With a view to spread its wings in eastern and northeastern states, the party has announced fielding 4,000 candidates in the panchayat polls.
The party that claims to champion the tribal causes sees an opportunity to find a foothold in Assam politics by extending support to the sizeable number of the Jharkhand-origin tribals who are seeking Scheduled Tribe (ST) status in the northeastern state.
“We are concentrating on the four tribal dominated districts, including Kokrajhar and Dibrugarh, and have decided to field our candidates in these four,” said senior party leader and Bahragora MLA, Vidyut Varun Mahato, on Monday.
With parliamentary elections due in 2014, the JMM is keen to contest a few seats in the adjoining states including Bengal and Odisha. “With regard to Assam we have not yet taken any decision but certainly we will take a call when the time arrives,” said a former cabinet minister of the party and close aide of JMM chief Shibu Soren.
Two cabinet ministers in the Arjun Munda government, Champai Soren and Mathura Prasad Mahato, and Ghatshila legislator travelled several places in Dibrugarh and addressed a public rally on Sunday.
“I am sure our support to the demand of the Jharkhand tribals in Assam seeking ST status will go down well with them and help us consolidating our position in the state,” Mahato said over the phone from Assam.
A sizeable number of Jharkhand-origin tribals are engaged in petty cultivation work in tea gardens in some of the districts in Assam.