Ranchi, May 5 : Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (Prajatantric) chief Babulal Marandi today decided to continue his hunger strike after a meeting with his party and Chief Minister Arjun Munda failed to find any solution to the encroachment controversy.
On the fifth day of his fast, Marandi found support from Senior BJP leader Sanjay Seth who was removed as party's Jharkhand unit spokesman three days ago.
Marandi began his fast-unto-death on May one after six people were killed in police firing in Ranchi and Dhanbad last month during anti-encroachment drive and demanded that the state government rehabilitate all displaced people of the state through a legislation passed by the state assembly.
“The chief minister has sent a message, through our 12-member delegation, to Babulal Marandi urging him to break his fast. But we did not get a firm commitment on our demand,” JVM (P) legislative party leader Pradip Yadav, who led the delegation, told PTI here.
During the 50-minute meeting in which Munda's deputies Sudesh Mahto and Hemant Soren and the chief secretary were also present, “The chief minister said he will place our demand at an appropriate forum,” Yadav said.
“However, the chief minister did not specify the forum nor did he give any time frame, which we construe as non-commitment to our demand. Therefore, our leader said he will continue the hunger strike,” Yadav added.
“I was told by the members of my party delegation that the chief minister was not constructive in his replies during the dialogue with them,” Marandi told newsmen here.
Munda later said he has sanctioned an ordinance to protect the interests of the people affected by the encroachment drive.
The chief minister had last week said the legal department was going through the crux of the ordinance that would help regularise houses deviating from official design.
Asserting that the anti-encroachment drive was not a political agenda and that it was an order by the high court, Munda said his government wanted a solution and was doing everything to find one.
He also appealed to Marandi to break his fast.
Deputy Commissioner K K Sone and Senior Superintendent of Police Praveen Kumar Singh called on Marandi at Mohrabadi, the venue of his hunger strike, last night and urged him to break his fast owing to his declining health condition, official sources said today.
Doctors are regularly checking Marandi's health.
Marandi, the first chief minister of Jharkhand, had floated JVM-P after he snapped ties with BJP five years ago alleging “break of internal democracy in BJP”.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Sanjay Seth threw his weight behind Marandi and put the onus of the anti-encroachment drive on his own party.
“In the garb of the high court order, the BJP-led government has initiated the anti-encroachment drive. I support Babulal Marandi on this issue,” Seth told newsmen at the venue of the hunger strike.
“If the administration shifts Marandi to hospital, I will carry forward the hunger strike,” he said.
Three days ago the BJP had removed Seth from his post and suspended former party MLA Chandresh Oraon, who had also pitched for Marandi.
“So far the party has not even informed me why I was relieved from my post. This is undemocratic,” he alleged.
Seth, who has been in the BJP for over two decades, has, however, remained non-committal whether he would leave the party, saying “It is up to the BJP to decide.”
The chief minister met Governor M O H Farook at Raj Bhavan during the day. PTI