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JMM preparing to stake claim to form Jharkhand government

December 26, 2009

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) seemed set to stake claim to form the government in Jharkhand Saturday though the Bharatiya Jananta Party (BJP) and the All Jharkhand Students Union (AJSU) have not yet formally announced their support to the party headed by Shibu Soren.

The BJP has called a meeting of its elected legislators to elect the leader of the party. Following this, it is likely to pass a resolution supporting JMM to form the government, informed sources said.

Former BJP president Rajnath and BJP national general secretary Anant Kumar arrived in Ranchi Friday night. While Anant Kumar is here as observer of the party, who will be present in the legislators’ meeting, Rajnath Singh has been authorised by the party to monitor the government formation in the state.

The JMM had Friday announced it would form the next government with the BJP. The latter, however, said a decision would be taken only after consulting the party central leadership.

Hemlal Murmu, a senior JMM leader and legislator, said: “We will form the next government in Jharkhand with BJP.”

Assembly polls result Dec 23 threw up a fractured mandate with the Congress and its ally, the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), together 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. The Janata Dal-United (JD-U), a BJP ally, has two seats. The state assembly has 81 seats and the simple majority mark is 41.

The AJSU has elected party president Sudesh Mahto as it’s leader.

Though no formal announcement has been made about the coalition, sources in the JMM said the formula for the next government has been finalised. As per the proposed formula, 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 berth are concerned JMM and BJP could get four, AJSU two and Janta Dal-United (JD-U) may get one berth. Jharkhand can have a maximum 12 ministers, including the chief minister. The sources added that the assembly speaker’ post would go to the BJP.

The Congress, on the other hand, made a last ditch effort to woo the JMM. Union Food Processing Minister and Congress MP Subodh Kant Sahay met Soren Friday night to dissuade him from joining hands with BJP. Congress leaders also reportedly met AJSU president Sudesh Mahto.

Efforts to cobble up a coalition in the state had been stuck as the JMM refused to accept anything less than the chief minister’s post for its chief Shibu Soren.

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