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Shibu Soren stakes claim for Jharkhand CM's post

August 12, 2008 14:32 IST
Last Updated: August 12, 2008 15:33 IST

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha chief Shibu Soren on Tuesday staked claim for the chief ministership of Jharkhand, demanding that the incumbent Madhu Koda should quit soon, failing which support to the state government will be withdrawn.

"The decision regarding making me Jharkhand chief minister was taken long back but it is getting delayed. Hence, we arrived at the decision to withdraw support from the Koda government if he does not resign now," said Soren, after a meeting of leaders from Jharkhand at his New Delhi [Images] residence.

Soren plays hide and seek

At the same time, he claimed that the "United Progressive Alliance high command has directed Madhu Koda to resign and facilitate my oath taking. I will take oath as the new CM as soon has he resigns there".

The JMM leader also claimed that besides chief ministership to him, the party will be getting two portfolios -- one cabinet rank and a minister for state berth -- at the Centre.

Soren, however, declined to name the two of its five Members of Parliament who will be inducted into the Cabinet. Earlier, Soren had supported the UPA in the confidence motion on July 22 after putting forth certain conditions.

The Trust Vote

Soren firmly denied that the independent ministers in the state had reservations on his becoming the CM. "There is no objection from any quarter".

Refusing to specify the time-frame given to Koda for putting in his papers, Soren said: "He has to resign as soon as possible."

While Soren refused to comment on reports that he had put forth a time-frame on the issue of change of guard in Jharkhand, a senior JMM leader said that the party conveyed to the Congress leadership today morning that it could take any decision if the UPA did not take action on JMM's demand.

How the vote was won

Soren also claimed that the decision to make him the Jharkhand CM had the full support of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi [Images].

On being asked about the possibility of his meeting Sonia Gandhi, he said he would meet her if it is required.

Claiming that he has the support of all UPA allies over the issue, Soren said: "UPA high command is of the opinion that support should be withdrawn for Koda government, if he fails to resign. Congress has also asked Koda to resign."

Where is JMM chief Shibu Soren?      

"The decision to make me CM by replacing Koda was taken long back. Even Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad earlier supported my claim for chief ministership. I don't know what he has to say now," said Soren.

Soren's assertion came a day after the Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who is said to be enjoying the blessings of RJD chief Lalu Prasad, dismissed reports of a change of guard in the state.

Koda had claimed that his government would last its full term and there would be no change of guard in the state.

JMM ends suspense, to vote in favour of UPA            

Congress MPs Furqan Ansari, Subodh Kant Sahay, Rameshwar Oraon, Sushila Kerketta, RJD MP Dhirendra Agrawal and others were present in the crucial meeting that took place at Soren's residence.

JMM sources said that a few independents ministers in Koda government have also pledged their support to Soren.

'Not everyone wants him as CM'
With Soren declaring that he is going to be the next chief minister of Jharkhand replacing incumbent Koda, Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad on Tuesday said the process could lead to imposition of President's Rule in the state.

"If Soren falls short of majority, it will lead to the imposition of President's Rule there. There are a number of people, who do not want him to become chief minister. What if there is a loss instead of gain," he told media persons.

The RJD chief, however, hastened to add that there was no objection from his side to the JMM chief becoming the chief minister.

"I have no objection. But there, the game is in the hands of independents. They go sometimes here and sometimes there. A number of people have said that they are against him (Soren)," he said.

The RJD chief, who has been Koda's mentor, declined to hazard any guess on the number of Soren's opponents in the state UPA.

He refrained from giving any categorical statement on whether Soren would be able to muster majority support or not.

"I will not comment on it. If I say something, Guruji will say why Lalu said this. Guruji is Guru," said Lalu in his inimitable style.

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