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BJP, Congress Exploring Options To Form Govt In Jharkhand

Political situation in Jharkhand remains fluid after the resignation of Chief Minister Shibu Soren as both BJP and Congress appear to be exploring the option of government formation, apparently in the face of pressure from
PTI May 31, 2010 17:38 IST
PTI

Political situation in Jharkhand remains fluid after the resignation of Chief Minister Shibu Soren as both BJP and Congress appear to be exploring the option of government formation, apparently in the face of pressure from MLAs who are keen to avoid an early election.

Governor M O H Farooq today sought the opinion of the BJP and the Congress on the possibility of forming an alternative government after Soren quit Sunday night, having failed to cobble up the numbers ahead of a trust vote.Both the parties said they needed more time.

Leader of the Opposition Rajendra Prasad Singh of Congress said after meeting the governor that his party did not have the numbers in the 82-member house but it was also against imposition of President's Rule or mid-term polls.

BJP state president Raghuvar Das who met the governor twice in the morning over prospects of government formation told reporters that he has sought time till tomorrow.

He said he would consult leaders and MLAs and place the governor's proposal before them. "The governor will be informed about whatever decision is taken."

To a question that most MLAs were for exploring possibilities of government formation, Das replied, "the state leadership has no such information. All MLAs and leaders are united and will follow the directive of the central leadership."

The Congress was against imposition of President's Rule or mid-term polls, Rajendra Prasad Singh said, adding the party would discuss with its allies before taking any decision.   "As of now we don't have numbers. Can we stake claim with only 14 MLAs? We told the governor that we will come to him only when we will have sufficient numbers," he said.

"We are talking to different parties," Singh said when asked if the Congress was willing to talk to the JMM. In the 82-member state assembly, elections to which were held in December last year, the JMM with 18 MLAs ran the government with the support for BJP-18, AJSU-5, JD-U-2 and Independents 2. Congress has 14 members and JVM (P) 11.

However, the central leadership of the BJP as well as the Congress is wary of venturing into a new experiment in a hurry. "I will not say anything now," was the brief response of the AICC in-charge for Jharkhand K Keshava Rao when asked whether Congress would take steps to form a government.

Sources say that there is pressure from the Congress MLAs to explore the possibility of forming an alternative government.

Sources in the AICC said that the party would be making its stand clear in a day or two on the issue. Party leaders from the state are expected to come to Delhi tomorrow to brief the top leadership about the evolving political situation there.

Since there is an apparent reluctance among the BJP leaders at the Centre for going for any new arrangement with JMM, there is a view in Congress that a brief spell of Presidents' Rule in the state can work well before an appropriate political decision is taken.

Jharkhand BJP spokesperson Sanjay Seth told PTI that BJP leaders met the Governor and told him that President Rule should be imposed in the state and fresh elections are held soon.  "The Governor had called BJP leaders.

We met him and told we do not have the numbers (to form any government)," he added.  Sources, however, said that a large number of MLAs in the BJP are not in favour of early elections and they may come to the national capital to meet the national leaders to put forth their views. "The central leadership will appreciate our concerns," said a state leader on the condition of anonymity.  BJP and JD(U) had decided to withdraw support to the Soren government after the JMM chief backed the UPA government by voting against cut motions sponsored by the opposition in the Lok Sabha.

 BJP's decision, which was put on hold, following efforts for a rapprochement by the JMM was finally implemented on May 24 after Soren backtracked on a power sharing deal under which Arjun Munda would have led a BJP-led government for 28 months and the JMM would have ruled for the remaining period. PTI