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BJP stakes claim in J'khand; Cong worried

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 07, 2010 16:00 IST
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Over three months after it parted ways with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Tuesday again came together with Shibu Soren's party and staked claim to form a new government in Jharkhand which has been under President's Rule since June 1.

In fast-paced developments, the JMM offered 'unconditional' support to the BJP after which its legislature party elected former chief minister Arjun Munda as its leader.

Munda met Governor M O H Farooq and claimed the support of 45 legislators in a House with an effective strength of 81. The Governor said he would look into it and convey his decision to the party.

"We have given a list of 45 MLAs to the governor requesting him to invite (newly elected BJP legislator party leader) Arjun Munda to form the new government. The governor said he would look into it and inform us," BJP's state unit president Raghuvar Das told mediapersons after meeting Farooq.

He said that in the list of 45 MLAs, the name of JMM MLA Poulus Surin, did not figure as he was in judicial custody. Das handed over the list to the governor in the presence of 42-year-old Munda, also the party's national general secretary who took over as CLP chief after incumbent Raghuvar Das quit the post on the direction of BJP president Nitin Gadkari.

In the list submitted to the governor, there were 18 MLAs each of BJP and JMM, two from Janata Dal-United, five from All Jharkhand Students Union and two independent MLAs -- Chamra Linda and Bidesh Singh.

"JMM has extended unconditional support to BJP's initiatives to form a government," Jharkhand Mukti Morcha spokesman Suprio Bhattacharya told PTI.

Besides Munda and Das, AJSU president Sudesh Mahto and JMM leader Hemant Soren, son of the JMM chief, were present at the Raj Bhavan.

AJSU's vice-president Praveen Prabhakar said his five-member legislature party has extended full support to the BJP's initiative.

Meanwhile, in Delhi, top leaders of Congress were huddled for more than an hour to discuss the evolving political situation in Jharkhand.

Home Minister P Chidambaram is learnt to have briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi on the situation in the state and options before the United Progressive Alliance.

The meeting was also attended by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Defence Minister A K Antony and Law Minister M Veerappa Moily.

Congress has 14 MLAs and its JVMP has 11 lawmakers. Ties between allies BJP and JMM had soured following cross voting by Shibu Soren in the Lok Sabha during cut motions in the Budget session in April brought by BJP and Left parties.

After the BJP threatened to withdraw support, Soren agreed on sharing power on rotational basis but later went back on his word. Shibu Soren resigned from the chief minister's post on May 30 following withdrawal of support by the BJP and the state came under President's Rule on June 1.

The total strength of the Jharkhand assembly is 82. One nominated MLA from Anglo-Indian community, Joseph P Galstaun, died in June.

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