"On the direction of the party president (Shibu Soren), the JMM has decided not to contest the Lohardaga by-polls to prevent division in secular votes," JMM working president Hemant Soren told a press conference here.

The former chief minister said the Congress had not yet responded its suggestion for a consensus UPA candidate for the December 14 by-polls.

He, however, said the party would later take a call on whom to support when asked whether the JMM's decision not to contest indicated apparent support to the Congress candidate and PCC president Sukhdeo Bhagat.

The JMM had on November 23 threatened to field its candidate if the Congress failed to respond to its request for for a consensus UPA candidate to stop "communal forces", triggering the postponement of filing of nomination by Bhagat from Tuesday to tomorrow.

Bhagat had yesterday claimed that there was a positive dialogue with the UPA allies on his candidature.

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