BJP ally AJSU chief skips development council meet in Jharkhand

Ranchi, Jan 3 (IANS) All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) President Sudesh Mahto, an ally of the ruling BJP and Jharkhand State Development Council Deputy Chairperson, on Tuesday skipped a council meeting here along with opposition Jharkhand Mukti Morcha members.

The Development Council meet was however attended by Chief Minister Raghubar Das, who heads the body, his ministers and senior state government officials to discuss various issues.

Mahto is said to be unhappy with the Raghubar Das government over amendments to two land laws — Chotanagpur Tenancy Act (CNT) and Santhal Pargana Act (SPT) — in the winter session of the assembly in November last year despite objections from a united opposition and the alliance partner.

Mahto is one of the many state leaders opposed to the land amendments.

After the amendment, agricultural land in the tribal-dominated state can be used for non-agricultural purposes.

Jharkhand Water Resources Minister and AJSU legislator Chandra Prakash Chaudhary said: “Mahto has gone out of the state and may not be aware of the meeting.”

However, government sources said the meeting of the council — headed by the Chief Minister — was fixed in December.

“The term of council members is for one year. Our term is ending on January 4. Why should we attend the meeting at the fag end of our tenure? The state government is not serious about the state’s development. There should have been three meetings in the last one year,” JMM legislator Kunal Sarangi told reporters.