Cong reaches out to Soren, Lalu

Cong reaches out to Soren, Lalu

Party calls RJD a UPA partner, says JMM is a family member

Cong reaches out to Soren, Lalu

Geeta Koda, wife of former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, flashes the victory sign after winning the Jagannathpur Assembly seat on Wednesday. PTI

The party made a volte-face soon after the results of the Assembly polls in Jharkhand were out on Wednesday. It termed Lalu’s Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) as a constituent of the UPA and Soren’s Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) “a member of the family.”

The RJD and the JMM had not been part of the Congress-led pre-poll alliance in the state. The Congress had tied up with Babulal Marandi’s Jharkhand Vikas Morcha (JVM) ahead of the polls.

But the results indicated that the Congress-JVM alliance was emerging as the single largest group in the Assembly, with the Congress itself being the single-largest party with 14 MLAs in the 81-member House. The JVM bagged 11 seats.

Congress Working Committee (CWC) member K Keshav Rao said the party was confident of garnering the support of the JMM, which has won 18 seats.

Rao, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in Jharkhand, said: “I know his (Soren’s) views. He is like a family member.” He also dismissed the suggestion that the JMM might consider tying up with the BJP to form the next government in the state. The BJP bagged 18 seats and its ally the JD (U) just two.

Though the JMM has already hinted it will only join the group that will prop up Soren as the next chief minister, the Congress on Wednesday made it clear that it had not yet given up its own claim to the top post.

“The Congress is the single largest party in the single largest group,” said All India Congress Committee (AICC) spokesman Manish Tiwari. “In certain circumstances, stepping up for public service is also a sacrifice,” he added, replying to a query if the Congress was ready to sacrifice its claim for the post of chief minister.

Senior Congress leader from Jharkhand and Union Food Processing Minister Subodh Kant Sahai said the party would try to unite the secular forces to give the State a stable and honest government. Sahai is believed to be the front-runner for the post of chief minister within the Congress.