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Tribal groups seek President's rule

By A Correspondent

RANCHI, DEC. 18. With dates being announced for Assembly elections in the State, the political temperature has soared in Jharkhand. While the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party held a meeting to discuss poll strategies, tribal leaders demanded that the elections be held under President's rule to ensure a `free and fair poll.'

The state BJP president, Raghubar Das said the party would hold a rally at Dumka in Santhalpargana division on January 12, the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, in recognition of the role youth played in the party. The party national president and former Deputy Prime Minister, L. K. Advani, would address it. Mr. Das said senior party leaders had been asked to consult the youth wing on election issues, as it had complained to the high command after being sidelined in the last elections.

At the meeting it was also decided to hold a special session on the issue of seat sharing with its allies on December 19 under the leadership of the party general secretary and Jharkhand in-charge, Rajnath Singh.

Meanwhile, tribal leaders belonging to various political and non-political parties sought the imposition of President's rule in the State accusing the BJP-led Arjun Munda Government of being anti-tribal. Addressing a press conference here today, the Congress MLA, Dev Kumar Dhan said tribals had no faith in the present dispensation.

Another tribal leader and president of the Adivasi Chhatra Sangh, Chamra Linda, said during the state-wide blockade yesterday by tribal organisations, police had opened fire on the protesters.

The agitation had been called to oppose the inclusion of Kurmis in the Scheduled Tribe category.

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