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RJD may form government in Jharkhand

January 10, 2009 16:51 IST

The Jharkhand Mukti Morcha's executive body is meeting today to deliberate upon Soren's discussions with the UPA

The Congress will give its ally Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) a chance to form government in Jharkhand after Chief Minister Shibu Soren's embarrassing defeat in a byelection.

A large section of the Congress - an ally of the coalition government in Jharkhand - initially preferred President's Rule. But Congress President Sonia Gandhi [Images] had to change her mind today as RJD chief Lalu Prasad is keen to see that the Jharkhand government continues with a new chief minister.

Soren, who joined the rare league of chief ministers who couldn't win an assembly election, is down but not out. RJD sources said Soren contacted Prasad today and sought that his wife Roopi Soren or his son take his place.

The Congress' core committee met today to discuss the Jharkhand logjam. As Gandhi is under pressure from Prasad not to impose President's Rule, a section of the Congress wants to extract a price for continuing its support. Top sources in the Congress said in case the government stays, Deputy Chief Minister Sudhir Mahato could become chief minister.

Mahato, a Jharkhand Mukti Morcha member, has been asked by the Congress leadership to camp in New Delhi [Images] from tomorrow. A senior RJD minister told Business Standard that although Soren had lost, the government still had the support of a majority of state MLAs.

"So, there can be a government with a new chief minister," he said. In order to convince the Congress to continue support and not impose President's Rule, the RJD is likely to suggest reappointment of Madhu Koda.

Soren had earlier compelled the RJD and the Congress leadership to remove Koda. He had claimed that the Congress and the RJD, partners in the UPA, had promised to make him chief minister in return for support to the Manmohan Singh [Images] government during the government's trust vote in Parliament.

PTI adds:

Shibu Soren said he would resign in a day or two after discussing an alternative arrangement with his party leaders.

"I will discuss the matter of an alternative arrangement at the party (JMM) meeting, will go to Delhi today  or tomorrow and resign," Soren said in Ranchi.

Asked whether he would resign today or tomorrow, Soren said was it was not legally mandatory to resign now.

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