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Jharkhand Stalemate Continues, Shibu Sticks To His Chair

Though JMM and other alliance partners seem to be in agreement that Jharkhand Chief Minister's post should go to BJP, stalemate due to differences over other issues continued on Saturday  even as NDA allies agreed
PTI May 01, 2010 23:05 IST
PTI

Though JMM and other alliance partners seem to be in agreement that Jharkhand Chief Minister's post should go to BJP, stalemate due to differences over other issues continued on Saturday  even as NDA allies agreed to continue talks. 

"The talks between BJP, JMM, AJSU and JD(U) were held in a cordial and positive atmosphere. The talks were held in the context of the letter written to BJP President Nitin Gadkari by JMM Legislature Party leader Hemant Soren. We will continue our talks," BJP General Secretary Ananth Kumar said. Sources said though all allies seemed agreeable that Chief Ministership should go to BJP, there were several hiccups from all sides which need to be dealt with. 

Gadkari held a four-hour meeting with Hemant Soren, AJSU President and Deputy Chief Minister Sudesh Mahato, JD(U) state unit president Jaleshwar Mahato, JMM rebels Teklal Mahato and Champai Soren, Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Raghuvar Das and party central leaders Rajnath Singh, Kumar and Ramlal. 

"Today's talks related to the present NDA government in Jharkhand and how to keep Congress at bay in the state. We will continue talks to chalk out future course of action," Kumar said.

Meanwhile, Hemant Soren denied there was a JMM proposal that his father Shibu Soren continue as Chief Minister till June 30 when he completes six months in office without getting elected to the Jharkhand assembly.   "Who is saying this? You (the press) people make up these things," he said in reply to a question on the issue. 

Though a section in JMM is said to have pressed for this, BJP leaders associated with the talks said the demand was not made to them.  If pressed for this demand, BJP would be in an embarassing position as it cannot withold the pending withdrawal of support to Shibu Soren government for two months. 

With Gadkari leaving for Nagpur on Sunday morning, party leaders said an outcome before Monday or Tuesday was virtually ruled out. BJP, JMM, AJSU and JD(U) are in favour of forming an alternative government to ward off attempts by Congress-led UPA to impose President's rule in Jharkhand. 

However, BJP's main concern is formation of a stable government to prevent loss of face and warding off the charge of being labelled an opportunistic and power-hungry party. Arjun Munda and Yashwant Sinha, both believed to be in race for Chief Ministership, did not participate in the meeting. 

Six rebel MLAs had earlier declared that they would not support Hemant in a BJP-led government. "We have come here to make our Dishom Guru Shibu Soren the Chief Minister," Teklal Mahato, one of the JMM rebels who had earlier hinted that talks with Congress were also possible, said before meeting Gadkari. 

BJP fears a President's Rule in Jharkhand would mean a virtual Congress rule in the state. 

BJP leaders also apprehend that in case Congress forms a government in Jharkhand with JMM, Babulal Marandi's JVM-P and Lalu Prasad's RJD, it may also lead to poaching of some BJP MLAs in the politically volatile state. PTI