Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) chief Shibu Soren on Thursday said his party will support NDA presidential nominee Droupadi Murmu in the July 18 election, ending weeks of suspense.
In a statement, he directed all MPs and MLAs of the JMM to vote for Murmu.
”You are aware that Droupadi Murmu, former governor of Jharkhand and a tribal woman, is the candidate in the upcoming presidential election. For the first time after Independence, a tribal woman is going to get the distinction of becoming the president,” he said.
”Therefore, after due deliberation, the party has decided to vote in favour of Droupadi Murmu in the presidential election,” he added.
JMM, an ally of the Congress, has 30 MLAs in the state legislature. While Murmu’s victory is ensured even without JMM’s support, the declaration by Soren is a shot in the arms for the NDA.
Yashwant Sinha, the opposition candidate, is from Jharkhand. The ruling party was in a dilemma whether to back the ”son of the soil” or a ”fellow tribal”.
Murmu had visited Jharkhand on July 4, and met Soren to seek his party’s support. His son Hemant Soren, the chief minister, was also present in the meeting.
Murmu and Soren are both tribal leaders and belong to the Santhal ethnic group, which has a sizeable population in Jharkhand as well as neighbouring Odisha, from where she hails.
The chief minister had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and other NDA leaders in Delhi on June 27 amid speculation about his party’s move in the presidential election.
The state Congress had earlier said that every party was free to make their own decision.
The alliance in Jharkhand was forged only to contest elections and not on any other issue, state Congress chief Rajesh Thakur had said.