Marik’s entry into JMM fuels talk of role in Odisha politics

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Bhubaneswar: It has been barely 24 hours since former DGP Sanjeev Marik joined the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM), but his plunge into politics is already creating ripples in the political landscape of Odisha. The chatter is already on about his prospective role in strengthening JMM’s presence in Odisha and most importantly his stance against his former employer – the BJD government.

Marik joined JMM in Ranchi on Monday in the presence of former Jharkhand chief minister and JMM chief Shibu Soren, his son Hemant Soren and other leaders.

Marik is expected to contest from the Godda Assembly by-poll in the State slated for June and is already mobilizing public support. Marik on Tuesday was seen visiting various places in the constituency.

But his Odisha connection and what effect he can have is what political observers here are talking about. He has spent years in Odisha Police being the SP of many districts and also the DGP. Moreover, he is well versed with the political landscape of the State and is aware of its terrains. So it is only logical to expect him to play a role in strengthening the JMM’s presence in Odisha.

Moreover, given his rocky relationship with the ruling BJD, which saw him being shunted out to a less-ceremonious office from the post of DGP just months ahead of his retirement, it remains to be seen how far he will be able to raise his voice against the single largest party in Odisha.

“In view of the upcoming Panchayat elections and general elections, he will work in two districts – Keonjhar & Balasore – to strengthen the party’s presence,” said Mahesh Hembram, the State president of JMM.

“He is not a politician, he is an administrator. Only people who have done politics from the grassroots level know what kind of hard work is required to become a politician. His entry into politics will have no effect as JMM has no presence here,” said Sports and Youth Affairs minister Sudam Marandi.

JMM has its organization in the nine Assembly constituencies of Mayurbhanj district. Similarly, in Sundargarh district it has some sporadic presence.

Though BJD is strongly discarding Marik the politician, observers believe that Marik could be a challenger to the BJD in Mayurbhanj.

“His administrative experience and his connection with Odisha can surely be exploited in politics. JMM will surely use his experience in Mayurbhanj to challenge BJD,” said senior journalist Navin Das.

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