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Shibu Soren stakes claim to form Jharkhand government


Saturday, December 26, 2009 09:51:24 PM, IANS

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Ranchi: Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Shibu Soren Saturday staked claim to form the government in Jharkhand, with support from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU).


Shibu Soren, accompanied by his son Hemant Soren, AJSU president Sudesh Mahto, BJP state chief Raghubar Das, former BJP president Rajnath Singh, former chief minister Arjun Munda and others met Governor K. Sankaranarayan and handed a list of 42 legislators supporting him. The strength of the Jharkhand assembly is 81.


The list includes 18 legislators each of JMM and BJP, five of the AJSU and one independent. The BJP's ally, Janata Dal-United (JD-U), which has two legislators, is yet to hand over its letter of support.


After handing over of the letter of support, Munda said: "We have supported JMM to provide a stable government in the state."


Mahto said the AJSU was supporting JMM for "a stable and corruption free government" in Jharkhand, while Hemant Soren said: "We came together in the interest of the people of the state to provide a stable government".


Though no formal announcement has been made about the coalition, sources in the JMM said the formula for the next government has been finalised and there will be two deputy chief ministers - one each from the BJP and AJSU.


Raghubar Das of the BJP and Sudesh Mahto of AJSU would be made deputy chief ministers, the sources added.


As far as cabinet berths are concerned, the JMM and BJP could get four each, AJSU two and JD-U may get one berth. Jharkhand can have a maximum 12 ministers, including the chief minister. The assembly speaker' post would go to the BJP, the sources added.


Saturday witnessed hectic political developments. Rajnath Singh, who arrived here Friday night to monitor developments, met the AJSU president and later Shibu Soren arrived at his hotel to meet him. From there, a 21-member delegation of the JMM, BJP and AJSU directly went to the Raj Bhavan where they handed over the letter of support to Shibu Soren to the governor.


Earlier a meeting of the newly-elected BJP legislators had passed a resolution supporting the JMM to form the government. They also elected Raghubar Das as the leader of the legislative party.


The JMM had Friday announced it would form the next government with the BJP, spurning the last-ditch efforts of the Congress to woo it. Union Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahay met Soren Friday night to dissuade him from joining hands with BJP, while Congress leaders also reportedly met the AJSU president. However, the talks foundered as Shibu Soren refused to accept anything less than the chief minister's post.


The five-phase assembly poll result Dec 23 threw up a fractured mandate with the Congress and its ally, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P) of former chief minister Babulal Marandi winning 25 seats, while the JMM and the BJP won 18 each.


The Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) have five seats each, while the JD-U has two. The remaining eight seats were won by small parties and independents.









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