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In Jharkhand, all eyes on governor
Ehtasham Khan in New Delhi |
February 28, 2005 14:38 IST
With the first ever assembly election in Jharkhand producing a hung assembly, Governor Syed Sibtey Razi has emerged as the kingmaker.
Both the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance and the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha-Congress combine have said they will form government.
The NDA has got 36 seats in the 81-member House, five short of a simple majority. The alliance leaders met the governor on Monday afternoon and staked claim. Razi asked them to elect a leader first.
The Congress-JMM has got 26 seats. The combine hopes to get the support of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Left besides that of one BJP rebel.
In Ranchi, hectic bargaining is on to woo the rebels and independents.
When the state was formed, four independent MLAs supported the NDA, which then formed the government. These independents are once again in demand.
The NDA is expected to get support from the All Jharkhand Students Union, which has two MLAs, and two BJP rebels who contested and won.
"One independent candidate is not difficult to be manage if the governor asks us to form the government," said a party insider.
NDA leaders are trying to get support from JMM rebel Stephen Marandi, who has won from Dumka. But Marandi appears not to be interested.
Razi is likely to invite the NDA, as it is the larger of the two coalitions.
However, the Congress leadership is equally upbeat. A Congress leader said: "The ball is in the governor's court. If he invites us, other parties will have to fall in line with us for the formation of a secular government.
"We are going to give him [the governor] the list and hope he will consider it. We have the numbers. We are confidant of forming the government."
The party will get the support of the RJD, which has seven seats. Once the governor invites the Congress-JMM combine, the Left with five members will have to support the coalition to keep the NDA out. The alliance is also talking to a BJP rebel candidate, Madhu Koda, and a few Independents.
Stephen Marandi has already announced his support to a "secular" government minus JMM chief Shibu Soren. He will never accept Soren as chief minister and Soren cannot see anyone else getting the top post.
Before the coalition leaders go to meet the governor, they will have to sort out these differences.
In the BJP camp, all is not well too. Besides gaining the support of the independents, the party will have to decide on the chief minister's post. Former chief minister Babu Lal Marandi and the incumbent Arjun Munda are fighting to get the chair.
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