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BJP puts on hold support withdrawal to Soren

Source: PTI
April 30, 2010 21:17 IST
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The Bharatiya Janata Party on Friday put on hold its decision to withdraw support to Shibu Soren government in Jharkhand and appears to have made up its mind to heading a government weighing the pros and cons of having a non-tribal chief minister.

Taking into account Jharkhand Mukti Morcha offer of support a BJP chief minister, the party's  Parliamentary Board met on Friday morning and withold its decision to pull the rug from under Soren who had voted against the cut motions in the Lok Sabha.

The Parliamentary Board also explored the possibility of forming a new government as the feeling in BJP is that it should not let go the opportunity provided by the JMM offer.

JMM leader and Shibu Soren's son Hemant wrote a letter to BJP chief Nitin Gadkari expressing support to a BJP-led government in the wake of BJP's decision on support withdrawal.

"The political situation in the state is such that There is No Alternative other than forming a government. If we do not, then UPA government will either impose President's Rule in the state or try to form its own government," said a senior BJP leader.

The idea of President's Rule would mean a virtual Congress rule in Jharkhand.

"As long as we can be an alternative (to President's Rule or a Congress government) we should provide it," BJP Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gopinath Munde said.

BJP leaders fear 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.

"We also have to keep the forthcoming Bihar assembly elections in mind as politics in adjacent Jharkhand would influence it. With RJD as part of the government in Jharkhand, its influence in Bihar would also go up," said a senior leader.

However, the biggest BJP concern in forming a government with the help JMM is the instablity of the coalition. "We would like the new government to survive at least till the Bihar polls in October and are working through various channels to get a concrete assurance from JMM on this," a BJP leader said.

Hemant Soren and Jharkhand BJP leader Raghuvar Das, who is also Deputy Chief Minister, will be meeting senior BJP leaders in the national capital to discuss the issues.

Meanwhile, BJP appears divided on whether a tribal or a non-tribal should become the Chief Minister in case it forms the government in Jharkhand. While a section of the central leadership is supporting Hazaribagh MP and former External Affairs Minister Yashwant Sinha, others favour former Jharkhand CM and tribal leader Arjun Munda for the top post.

Raghuvar Das, a Vaish leader, is also strongly pitching his case as the state has a sizable Vaish population.

"Supporting a non-tribal like Sinha will be good for the state as it is likely to provide more stability and better leadership but this may take away our tribal votes in the next elections," a BJP MP said.

JVM-P leader Babulal Marandi has raked up the domicile issue often to win support of the native population.

Even Hemant Soren has suggested in his letter of support to BJP that the latter should keep the tribal senstivities in mind while choosing the new chief minister -- an apparent reference to their desire for a tribal as chief minister.

"BJP Parliamentary Board has decided that party leaders will talk to our alliance partners in Jharkhand, namely, JMM, JD-U and AJSU, and our state unit leadership to take a decision on the proposal of Hemant Soren," senior BJP leader Ananth Kumar told mediapersons.

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